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Author of 

The Red Reign," "Among the Fife Miners,' 
etc., ETC. 













Foreword ix 



I An Island Princess 3 

II Girlhood 7 

III Courtship 15 

IV A Royal Wedding 24 

V A Baptism of Blood 36 

VI Winning a Nation's Love 40 

VII Don Alfonso XIII 49 

VIII A King's Life 54 

IX Courage and Kingship 67 

X The Prince of Asturias 75 

XI The Royal Nursery of Spain 86 

XII The Princes at Play 96 


I "Sunny" 107 

II Courtship and a Journey to the Northland 114 

III Assuming the Burden 124 

IV Motherhood and Queenship 134 

V Spirit Whisperings 149 

VI Family Life at the Russian Court . . . 169 

VII The Grand Duchess Olga 185 

VIII Tatiana, Marie and Anastasie 193 

Table of Contents 


IX The Tsarevitch 204 

X The End of the Road 210 


I A Mountain Princess 219 

II The Romance 229 

III Victor Emmanuel 234 

IV A Royal Honeymoon 240 

V Elena the Mother 249 

VI Simplicity of the Italian Court .... 256 

VII The Heroism of Queen Elena .... 261 

VIII Elena the Queen 267 


The Tsaritsa Frontispiece 


The Queen of Spain 12 

"The End Crowns the Work" 26 

The Procession of Bull Fighters 44 

Don Alfonso and His Heir 60 

The Prince of Asturias 78 

The Court of the Virgins at Seville 90 

The Tsaritsa Is Honorary Colonel of the Uhlans of 

the Guard 118 

The Five Children of the Tsaritsa 136 

The Winter Palace, the Scene of "Bloody Sunday" . . 178 

The Tsar and Tsaritsa at the Head of a Reviewing Party 212 
Princess Milena of Montenegro, the Mother of Queen 

Elena 222 

The Queen of Italy 232 

Four Generations: The Prince of Piedmont, His Father 

the King, the Dowager Queen Margherita, and her 

Mother, the Duchess of Genoa 244 

The Royal Children of Italy 252 

Snapshots by Queen Elena: The King and Her Children 272 

''Your task is difficult," remarked a friend to 
whom I had just explained that I was writing the 
lives of the Empress of Russia, the Queen of 
Spain, and the Queen of Italy. "Your task is dif- 
ficult, because these are three good Queens, and 
good Queens, like all good women, have no his- 
tory." Now that I have told the stories of these 
three good Queens, I wonder if my friend will not 
grant that they have been worth the telling? 


In the year 1907, the Woman's Home Compan- 
ion commissioned me to go to Russia to write the 
story of the early days, courtship and marriage of 
her whom the world knows to-day as the "Tsar- 
itsa." The following year, the same periodical 
sent me to Italy to write a similar account of the 
life of Queen Elena; and in 1910 I was once more 
sent abroad, this time to Spain, to learn all about 
Queen Victoria Eugenie. 

The chapters printed in the magazine articles 
constitute only a part of the material which I 
gathered on these three trips, and consequently 
the stories herewith presented are to my best knowl- 
edge and belief the most complete records of these 
three Queens, which have yet been gathered and 
published. It was necessary for me to rely 
almost entirely upon members of the several 
Courts of St. Petersburg, Madrid and Rome for 
my biographical data. In each capital I spent 
many months, cultivating the acquaintance of all 
who were in a position to give me this material, 
especially members of the entourages of these sev- 
eral sovereigns. Accuracy was always my prime 
aim and the greatest care has been taken to cor- 
roborate impressions and to check up each parti- 





ONCE upon a time, not so many years ago, there 
lived on a lovely island of the sea, a beautiful, 
golden-haired, blue-eyed Princess. The mother of 
this Princess was kind and good to everybody on 
the island and all who knew her loved her. The 
father of the princess was a soldier, a warrior who 
led men to battle, and who sailed over distant seas 
to fight for the honour and glory of his country. 
The grandmother of the little Princess was a great 
Queen, known and revered by the whole world, for 
she enjoyed a long life and a long reign. The 
little Princess was born in the fiftieth year of the 
reign of the good old Queen and so the little Prin- 
cess was called "the Jubilee baby." 

The Jubilee baby became the favourite grand- 
child of the old Queen who loved to have the young 
Princess with her, and so it happened that the 
training of the Princess was largely at the knees of 
the great Queen, — and her nursery days were spent 
on the steps of a 1 throne. 

When the Princess was eight years old, her 

4 Royal Romances of To-day 

soldier father was sent to a foreign land to fight 
in a cruel war. The ship that carried him and the 
soldiers who left their homes with him, stopped 
for a few days at the port of a friendly country 
and the officers, including the father of the Prin- 
cess, got off the ship to visit the strange country. 
It was a pleasant land, a land of sunshine and 
flowers, where even in midwinter, the fragrance of 
roses and orange blossoms filled the air. The is- 
land home of the Princess was cold in winter, and 
harsh winds swept in from the sea. The Prince, 
seeing all the beauty of the new land, would have 
liked to linger in the balmy atmosphere where 
birds were as merry at Christmas as in his own 
land at Easter. But he was on a stern journey, 
fulfilling a great and responsible duty. The ship 
was about to start on to its destination — the land of 
discord and strife where war was being waged, and 
human lives were being sacrificed — where blood 
was running and suffering and sorrow came with 
each day's sun; the ship was about to start on, and 
the Prince, thinking of the country whither he was 
going, and of the land which he now was glimpsing 
like a beautiful dream, thought also of the home 
he had left and his fair-haired, darling daughter, 
her three baby brothers, and their mother whom he 
loved very dearly. Then he sat down and wrote a 
letter to the little Princess. It was the first time 
he had ever written a letter to her, because she was 
still a wee girl and had never left his side. In this 
letter he told her how beautiful was the land that 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 5 

he then was visiting, and he went on to say to her: 
"Always be a good girl, and love your mother. If 
you do this, when you grow up and are big, you 
too, will travel, and you will come to this beautiful 
country. You will see for yourself that you will 
like it and how happy you will be here." 

The little Princess was very pleased when she 
received this letter from her father of whom she 
was extremely proud, and being the only one she 
had from him treasured it like a relic. She never 
dreamed how wonderfully prophetic were the sim- 
ple words he wrote. 

One short month later the Prince was dead. 
The shadow of this loss deeply darkened the life 
of the little Princess and all her family, and in- 
deed the whole country mourned. A few years 
passed and the little Princess grew up and was 
ever and always more beautiful and lovely of char- 
acter, as well as of face and form. When she was 
eighteen, there came to visit her country the young 
ruler of the very land her father had visited on 
his last journey — the land which he told her she 
would one day visit and where she would be happy. 
The King of this land, as it happened, was then 
only nineteen years old, and in quest of a Princess 
to share his throne. When he saw the Princess of 
this story, he fell instantly in love with her, and 
she with him — and after a wooing and courtship 
they were married. So after all, the Princess did 
go to the land her father told her she would one 
day see, and now the "Jubilee Baby" is the Queen 

6 Royal Romances of To-day 

of that country, and the people there have become 
as devoted to her as she is to them — and she is very, 
very happy. 

Does this read like a pretty fairy tale, written 
for children? Possibly. But it isn't; at least, if 
it is a story and pretty, it is every word true, for 
"the Jubilee Baby" was Queen Victoria's thirty- 
second grandchild, the daughter of Princess Bea- 
trice and Prince Henry of Battenberg. The Isle 
of Wight of Southern England was the home of 
the Battenbergs and Princess Victoria Eugenie 
Julia Ena — or Princess Ena, as she was generally 
called — was Queen Victoria's favourite grand- 
child. When Princess Ena was eight years old, 
her father, Prince Henry, went off to the Ashanti 
campaign in Africa and when his ship was de- 
tained a few days at Gibraltar, he ran up to Seville, 
from where he wrote the letter — the only letter he 
ever wrote to his little daughter — telling her that 
one day she would come to Spain and be happy. 
This letter was written in November and in De- 
cember, Prince Henry died of a fever contracted 
in the deadly climate of that part of the African 
coast. Ten years later, King Alfonso XIII went 
to England, met Princess Ena and within the 
twelve month, they were married and now she is 
Queen Eugenie of Spain! 



Princess Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena was 
born October 24, 1887. She enjoyed the distinc- 
tion of being the first royal baby born in Scotland 
for precisely two hundred and eighty-seven years. 
Through her girlhood she was much with her 
grandmother, Queen Victoria of England, and she 
also enjoyed the particular interest of her god- 
mother, the Empress Eugenie of France, who 
later on was largely instrumental in bringing about 
the meeting between the young King of Spain and 
her godchild which resulted in her elevation to a 

Princess Ena was the only daughter in a family 
of four children, and her childhood was spent 
much in the company of her brothers, whose stud- 
ies and play she shared. Before she was twelve 
years old she had learned to ride like a boy, to 
manage a boat and had acquired considerable skill 
with the fishing rod. After the death of her 
father, Prince Henry of Battenberg, Princess Ena 
assisted her mother in the administration of the 
Isle of Wight, which was the particular bailiwick 
of her family. Doubtless the early lessons of ad- 
ministration which she learned at this time was 


8 Royal Romances of To-day 

the kind of preparation for the administrative du- 
ties of Queen, which, after her marriage, were to 
devolve upon her. 

She received an education befitting a Princess 
of Great Britain. When still very young she had 
acquired a knowledge of French and German, and 
this practice in mastering new languages proved 
of great value later when she came to take up Span- 
ish — a rich and full-throated tongue in which she 
became fluent within a few months. 

Princess Ena also showed a decided talent for 
music and she is not only a ready, skilful pianist, 
but she also composes music. 

Her young life was happy. She was the 
favourite, not only of Queen Victoria and Empress 
Eugenie, but of all the Royal family in England. 
There was no touch of the hard and sordid in 
those years. She dwelt in the midst of wholesome, 
happy people and always in beautiful places. The 
Isle of Wight, her home, is a sweet, tranquil haven, 
remote from the frequented paths of the world, far 
from the hurry and noise and dirt of modern Eng- 
land. In Spring and Summer it is like a great 
garden with abiding places set therein. 

Balmoral in Scotland, where she was born and 
where she frequently lived, especially when her 
grandmother, Queen Victoria, was in residence in 
Scotland, is one of the most glorious spots in Brit- 
ain. The magnificent Royal Park is widely en- 
circled by the rugged mountains of that Northland. 
The river Dee, famed in song and story, runs close 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 9 

to hand. This Northland is more mountainous 
and stern than Ayr or Dumfries, the land of Bob- 
bie Burns, and as instinct with tradition of the 
fighting Jacobite times as the Border country — the 
land of Scott — or Loch Leven with its memories 
of Queen Mary. Princess Ena revelled in the 
stirring past as she breathed the strong air of the 
Cairngorms, growing physically strong and 
sturdy, innocent of the Destiny which was to shape 
her life and make her a Mother of Kings. 

One winter Princess Henry of Battenberg went 
to Egypt, taking with her her four children. This 
proved a memorable year to Princess Ena, for she 
became familiar with new surroundings and ac- 
quainted with ancient civilisations, in which she 
evinced a remarkable interest. Here, too, the Prin- 
cess had her first experience away from royal pre- 
cincts, as the winter was mostly spent in the Cata- 
ract Hotel at Aswan. It was the wish of Princess 
Henry that she and her children be treated pre- 
cisely as the other guests of the hotel were treated, 
and the Princess Ena came to know many people 
who were of a world far removed from her own. 

Many stories are told in Egypt to-day of the 
laughing golden-haired English Princess who was 
never so weary as to cease from fun and mischief, 
and many a prank instigated by her and her 
brothers is recalled. Her brightness and abound- 
ing good nature were widely appreciated and the 
memory she has left there is sweet and good. 

Christmas Day in a foreign land is always dull 

io Royal Romances of To-day 

and dreary, and English people, perhaps, miss 
home on this day above all others in the year. 

The manager of the Cataract Hotel — Herr 
Steiger — being anxious to lift in some measure the 
pall of gloom which hung over his guests that 
Christmas planned a little surprise which he 
sprang at the dinner hour. Toward the close of 
the meal the lights in the dining salon were sud- 
denly extinguished and a band of picturesque Ori- 
entals entered the room bearing lighted tapers and 
trays of gifts. Their fantastic garb of white bour- 
nous, red fez and white turbans looked weirdly 
strange against the darkness and as the file ap- 
proached the table where sat the royal party a burst 
of loud applause came spontaneously from the 
guests at the other tables. No sooner had the first 
defile circled round the royal table than other sim- 
ilar groups entered the room and ranged around 
the other tables. In a moment of silence the 
Princess Ena was heard to exclaim: "Oh! how 
nice of Herr Steiger to have given this pleasure 
to everyone and not only to us!" 

This charming consideration for others is a char- 
acteristic of her nature which has deepened with 
years and has proved one of the qualities which 
so quickly endeared her to the people of her 
adopted land. 

At the age of eighteen Princess Ena had her for- 
mal "coming out" into Society. The event took 
place at the Infirmary Ball at Ryde, and immedi- 
ately after she was presented at Windsor and en- 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 1 1 

tered upon a gay season in London. It was to- 
ward the end of this very first season that she met 
for the first time the impetuous and dashing young 
man who at first sight of her surrendered his heart 
and in record time led her up the steps of a throne 
to share with him the ermine of sovereignty. 

In their meeting and courtship lies a tale of pure 
romance. No story of any "castle in Spain" runs 
more delightfully, and no tale of the storied Al- 
hambra quickens the pulse beats faster. 

Don Alfonso XIII of Spain, who was literally 
born a king, his father having died several months 
before his birth, at the early age of 28, was still in 
his teens when his court and ministers began to 
drop thinly veiled hints concerning a possible alli- 
ance for the young sovereign. The King from 
earliest boyhood had showed that he had a mind 
and determination of his own, and whenever the 
matter of his marriage was broached he would 
make reply: "I shall marry a princess who takes 
my fancy, and nobody else. I want to love my 
wife." A noble and worthy ambition surely, es- 
pecially for a king! 

The Emperor of Germany had long hoped to 
arrange a match between the King of Spain and a 
German princess, while several princesses in other 
countries of Europe nourished secret hopes that 
they might one day sit on the Spanish throne. 
Political exigencies, however, demanded an Eng- 
lish princess if a suitable and acceptable one 
could be found for the youthful monarch. 

12 Royal Romances of To-day 

During the spring of Don Alfonso's twentieth 
year, the very year of Princess Ena's coming out, 
he went with a regal suite to London. Wiseacres 
had picked Princess Patricia of Connaught as the 
probable choice of the dashing young sovereign. 
Indeed the whispers of Mayfair drawing-rooms 
had the match entirely arranged long before the 
King arrived in London. 

June in London is often a delightful and beauti- 
ful month — a month of awakening surprises, when 
the trees and flowers come quickly into bloom and 
blossom through the spring haze. The June week 
chosen for the visit of the Spanish King, however, 
proved a disappointing exception, for mist and 
drizzling rain characterised the period of his stay, 
but all the rain and dampness of Britain, if con- 
centrated in London, would not have marred the 
indefatigable energy of this strenuous young man, 
who not only participated in all the festivities ar- 
ranged for him by the committees of the Court and 
Municipality, but also managed to do much 
extra sight-seeing and, most important of all, to 
make up his mind which princess should be the 
next Queen of Spain — his bride. 

Despite the gossips who already had Princess 
Patricia the affianced bride of the young King, 
when these two met it was evident that neither at- 
tracted the other. Far too often in the history of 
nations personal attraction has not been a dominat- 
ing influence in royal marriages. If reasons of 
state have demanded the marriage the individuals 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 13 

have sunk their own feelings, surrendered their 
personal happiness — and lived on, perpetual vic- 
tims of the political demands of their respective 
states. But Don Alfonso XIII had no desire to 
martyr himself in this way. No more the Prin- 
cess Patricia. 

The late King Edward had arranged dinners, 
dances and fetes in Buckingham Palace in honour 
of the King of Spain. There were gathered the 
very flower of the youth of Britain. Don Alfonso 
was seen to be instantly struck by the sight of a cer- 
tain golden-haired girl whom he saw flitting here 
and there across the rooms. 

"Who is she?" he finally inquired. 

"Princess Ena of Battenberg," was the reply. 

The two were presented. They talked together 
and were visibly interested in each other. They 
met again and each day so long as the King re- 
mained in London. 

A few months later, King Alfonso confessed 
that the first moment he saw Princess Ena, he de- 
termined that she was the one who must share the 
responsibilities of his Kingdom with him, and 
that if his suit were not accepted by the Princess, 
or if any reasons of State intervened to prevent the 
marriage, his country would go without a queen 
so long as he lived. Fortunately, no reasons of 
State developed to hinder the marriage and the 
one obstacle raised by the Church was overcome 
when the Princess declared her readiness to accept 
the Roman Catholic Faith, for King Alfonso is 

14 Royal Romances of To-day 

known as His Most Catholic Majesty, and church 
influence, though waning, is still strong in Spain. 

The marriage was favoured and encouraged by 
King Edward, that gracious and genial Uncle of 
Europe, and his sanction was sufficiently strong to 
bring about what was to King Alfonso and to 
Spain an exceedingly desirable union. No pub- 
lic announcement of the betrothal was made for 
six months after the visit to England, but rumour 
carried abroad the suspicions which were later 



MUCH curiosity was exhibited upon the return 
of King Alfonso to Madrid on the part of his 
courtiers. Many times and often intimates of the 
King pressed him indirectly in regard to this great 
secret, but Don Alfonso preserved a careful si- 
lence. Shortly after this visit, the King bought a 
racing yacht, and, upon its arrival, gave a launch- 
ing party to inspect his new possession. As yet 
the yacht had not been named, and the King in- 
vited his guests to suggest an appropriate name. 
Someone suggested that it be named after him- 
self, but the King shook his head at this; then one 
bolder than the rest slyly suggested that the name 
of the future Queen of Spain would be appropri- 
ate. "Excellent," said his Majesty, "and now you 
will please inform me what is the name of the 
lady?" "Ah, sir," replied the other, "on that mo- 
mentous point we are as yet without informa- 
tion." "Nevertheless," said the King, "it is a 
good suggestion," and forthwith sent instructions 
that the new yacht be named "Queen X." The 
Spanish newspapers quoted the story of the King's 
little joke and concluded who the real Queen was 
to be from the fact that the words were printed in 


1 6 Royal Romances of To-day 

English, a conclusion that was very soon con- 

Towards the close of January, following the 
visit to London, a Chamberlain of the King's ar- 
rived at Biarritz in southern France, near to the 
border of Spain, and two days later the King, 
travelling incognito, left his capital for the same 
frontier, and it immediately became an open secret 
that the time of the public betrothal was at hand. 

The day following the King's arrival he joined 
the party of Princess Frederica of Hanover and 
Prince Alexander of Battenberg, Princess Henry 
of Battenberg — and Princess Ena. That very 
afternoon King Alfonso and his future Queen 
were publicly seen together for the first time 
in a motor drive along the frontier. The Press of 
the world was unanimous in its approval of the 
match, and for the most part stating that it was 
really a marriage of affection, reasons of State hap- 
pily harmonising with the impulses of the royal 
hearts. The courtship which followed was very 
boy and girl-like according to all intimate accounts. 
Little gifts were exchanged and the two were con- 
stantly in each other's company, dodging as much 
as possible public gaze. They strolled many miles 
together alone and unattended through the parks 
and woods and, on more than one tree carved in- 
terlaced hearts and each other's initials just like 
lovers the whole world over. 

One day the happy lovers were seen to proceed 
to a carefully selected spot where two round holes 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain ij 

had been freshly dug out of the earth. A gardener 
stood nearby, apparently awaiting their coming, 
for in his arms he carried two small fir plants. 

"This one is mine," exclaimed the King, eagerly 
taking one. 

"And this one is mine," rejoined the Princess. 

Each having taken a plant they set about plant- 
ing them. 

"We must plant the trees side by side," said the 
King, "so that they may always remind us of these 
never-to-be-forgotten days." 

The plants were set in place and each taking a 
spade they began to cover the roots with earth. 

The Princess finished her task first, and drop- 
ping her spade stood watching the King, laughing 
merrily all the while. At last the King, pausing 
for a moment, said: 

"There is no doubt about it, I am very awkward! 
I must put in a month with the engineers!" 

That day King Alfonso handed Princess Ena a 
beautiful heart set with diamonds and rubies, one 
of the earliest gifts to his bride-to-be. 

One day they sped off into the country in the 
King's motor car. Alighting just outside of the 
little village of Cambo they entered the village on 
foot. Passing a shop where postcards were on sale 
they went in and selected several of the picture 
cards to send to King Edward and Queen Maria 
Cristina, the Queen Mother of Spain. The village 
shop-keeper did not recognise his distinguished 
customers and began to question them if they knew 

1 8 Royal Romances of To-day 

when the King and Princess would come to Cambo, 
which they had not yet visited. King Alfonso 
and his fiancee, inwardly smiling, made an evasive 
reply indicating that they knew nothing about the 
Royal arrangements. After they had gone out 
the shopkeeper was apprised of the identity of his 
recent customers and his surprise resulted in his 
complete bewilderment. 

On Friday, the 27th of January, the Princess 
crossed into Spain for the first time. She and the 
King were accompanied by her mother, the Mar- 
quis of Viana and the Marquis of Villalobar; the 
party motored over the International Bridge which 
marks and connects the borders of the two coun- 
tries and, as the Princess alighted on Spanish soil, 
the Marquis of Villalobar remarked to the Prin- 
cess: "Senora we have set foot on Spanish terri- 
tory," to which the Princess gave answer: "I am 
delighted that this moment has arrived; it fills me 
with joy and never shall I forget the first day on 
which I trod the soil of Spain." The English 
party then proceeded to the Palace of Miramar at 
San Sebastian, where they were the guests of the 
Queen Mother. 

A San Sebastian newspaper, commenting upon 
the appearance of Princess Victoria Eugenie said: 
"She is very beautiful, very elegant, very sympa- 
thetic." These three characteristics indeed are the 
predominant features of her character. She has 
beauty, an aristocratic carriage, and her nature is 
deeply sympathetic. 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 19 

This first visit of Princess Ena to Spain was 
necessarily of brief duration and, pending the ar- 
rangements of State for the marriage, the King was 
obliged to return to Madrid while his fiancee pro- 
ceeded to Paris, there to prepare her trousseau. 
Don Alfonso designated his own Chamberlain — 
the Marquis of Villalobar — to accompany her to 
the French capital and there to wait attendance 
upon her. Simultaneously with her arrival in 
Paris, Don Alfonso remembered that the Princess 
had no automobile in France, so he telegraphed to 
his Chamberlain to hire one immediately for his 
fiancee's use. The Chamberlain telegraphed back 
to the King that there was not a car to be hired 
in Paris good enough for the Princess, whereupon 
Don Alfonso wired instructions for a Panhard car 
to be purchased and sent the next morning to the 
hotel where the Princess was staying. 

The King went at this time to pay an official 
visit to his province of Valencia and wrote to the 
Princess of the beautiful oranges growing there, at 
which the Princess manifested a desire to have 
some. One morning, the Marquis of Villalobar re- 
ceived a telegram from the King advising him that 
he was sending a few oranges for the Princess by a 
certain train and directing him to meet the train at 
the station and convey the fruit directly to the Prin- 
cess. The telegram did not state the quantity of 
oranges which were being sent, and the Marquis 
was at a loss to know whether it would be a basket- 
ful of fruit which could be conveyed in a cab, or a 

io Royal Romances of To-day 

truck load. Upon the arrival of the train, the as- 
tonished Chamberlain beheld the largest orange 
tree he had ever seen, the branches bowed with 
ripe fruit! 

While the necessary preparations were in prog- 
ress for the Royal Wedding, King Alfonso visited 
his betrothed at her home in the Isle of Wight. 
This visit, which lasted three weeks, was regarded 
as strictly private and during these three weeks the 
Royal wooing progressed under idyllic conditions. 
It was a period of country walks and drives, simple 
picnic parties, private entertainment and family 
dinner parties. During this visit at Osborne Cot- 
tage, the King and Princess planted a tree in com- 
memoration of their betrothal, and during this time 
also His Majesty took his first lessons in the ancient 
Scottish game of golf, at which he later became 
most proficient. Their seclusion was only in- 
truded upon by the most necessary of formal func- 
tions — a visit of respect by the Spanish Ambassa- 
dor to London, by the Commander of the Royal 
Yacht Squadron, and certain other dignitaries 
whom etiquette obliged to wait upon the King. 
Don Alfonso lived up to his reputation of being the 
surest shot in Spain when on one day the Isle of 
Wight Gun Club held an exhibition shoot, the first 
prize of which was won by the visiting sovereign, 
who broke eight clay birds out of ten in a high 

Toward the close of the visit the Royal party 
proceeded to London for a short stay at Bucking- 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 21 

ham Palace. During the few days spent in Lon- 
don, Don Alfonso and his fiancee shopped together 
publicly in the streets of London, attended several 
theatrical performances and visited Madame Tus- 
saud's wax works where were brand new wax 
models of himself and his wife to be. On the 4th 
of May Don Alfonso returned to his own country. 
On Thursday, the 24th of the same month, Prin- 
cess Victoria Eugenie set out for the land where 
she was henceforth to live as Queen. 

She travelled from England via Dover and Ca- 
lais. A friend who met her on her landing upon 
French soil remarked how sad she seemed, where- 
upon she replied: "It is nothing — I cannot help 
feeling moved when I think that I am leaving the 
country where I have spent so many happy days, 
to go toward the unknown." That night she slept 
not at all. Her emotions held full sway. She 
passed over in sweet reverie the scenes of her shel- 
tered girlhood in the Island home and in the 
charming Highlands of Scotland; and then she 
fondly remembered the letter her father wrote her 
years and years before, the only letter she had ever 
had from him whom she had loved so dearly, in 
which he had told her that one day she would come 
to the fair land where he was tarrying for a night 
— and that she would be happy there. 

When first I saw Princess Ena — several years 
later, when she was Queen Victoria Eugenie — she 
had this same wistful, sorrowful expression. As I 
gazed into her calm eyes I instantly appreciated 

22 Royal Romances of To-day 

the great depth of feeling and beauty of nature 
which lay beneath the tranquil expression of her 
lovely features. I had been with Senor Torres, 
the able and amiable confidential secretary of the 
King, in the Royal Palace at Madrid. As I left 
him and tried to thread my way quite alone 
through the intricate maze of palace halls toward 
the court, I came suddenly and unexpectedly upon 
the King and Queen. Her Majesty was in deep 
black, for it was but a day or two after the death of 
her beloved Uncle King Edward VII of England. 
Her usually bright face and rosy cheeks were ashen 
white, and her countenance bore a saddened look 
which commanded sympathy. Her fair hair was 
soft and golden against her mourning garb and de- 
spite her grief there was dignity and majesty in 
her carriage. Perhaps the lines which shadowed 
her pale face had not come solely with her latest 
suffering, for in the interim of years — few as they 
were — more than one sore trial had been hers. 
Indeed, during the few short days that elapsed 
between her crossing the frontier of Spain and her 
reception into the Royal Palace as bride and 
Queen there occurred her baptism of blood which 
was to try her beyond anything she had yet en- 
dured and which was to test to the uttermost the 
qualities which above all others are essential to 

Princess Ena came to her throne through tragic 
and dramatic scenes, and the spirit which she mani- 
fested in the midst of trying and harrowing cir- 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 23 

cumstances convinced the Spanish people for good 
and all that their King had not erred in wooing 
the golden-haired Princess from the little Isle just 
off the coast of Southern England. She proved at 
once that she is of the stuff of which great queens 
are made — and that she is indeed a born mother 
of kings. 



The train which carried Princess Ena across 
France toward her unknown Destiny approached 
the Spanish frontier at dawn. On the platform of 
the first station within the borders of Spain paced 
the awaiting bridegroom, — eager, impatient, anx- 
ious. He smoked cigarette after cigarette as the 
minutes went by, pausing ever and anon to peer 
into the gloom which still lingered of the passing 
night as if to catch the first sight of the coming 
train. When at last it arrived and the Princess 
had alighted, her very first act was one which made 
an appeal to the Spanish people. Turning almost 
directly from the group of ministers, generals and 
courtiers who were there to greet her, she stepped 
toward the Mayor of the little village who was 
surrounded by a group of peasant delegates, and 
extending her hand for him to kiss, she graciously 
accepted the bouquet which he handed to her. 
This man was a field labourer — a peasant — and his 
comrades were all of the soil. Thus the first hom- 
age which she received and acknowledged was that 
which came directly from the people. 

The evening of the day of her arrival at Madrid 
she seized a splendid opportunity. In the town 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 25 

of Badajoz, the capital of the Province of Estre- 
madura, was a man condemned to death and whose 
sentence was to have been carried out the day fol- 
lowing the arrival of the bride-elect. On the even- 
ing of her arrival in Spain, the people of the town, 
representatives of all classes, telegraphed to the 
Princess an earnest petition beseeching her to ex- 
ercise her influence with the King for him to exer- 
cise his prerogative of Royal clemency and pardon 
the condemned man. The Princess went immedi- 
ately to the King and told him that almost the first 
message she had received upon her arrival in Spain 
was this petition asking her to save the life of a 
man. This wedding present, she said, would 
please her more than any gift she might receive. 
King Alfonso instantly granted her request and the 
Royal pardon was despatched by telegraph, arriv- 
ing at Badajoz less than one hour before the sen- 
tence was to have been carried out. Upon receipt 
of the news, all the bells of the town were set ring- 
ing and there was a scene of extraordinary demon- 
stration; the whole community gathering in the 
streets crying: "Long live Queen Victoria Eu- 

Thursday the 31st of May, 1906, had been ap- 
pointed for the wedding. The day broke bright 
and clear in Madrid, a glorious sun tempered by a 
cooling breeze shone throughout the day and with 
not a cloud in the sky. The King arrived at the 
Palace of the Pardo just outside of Madrid where 
the Princess and her suite had remained during 

26 Royal Romances of To-day 

the few days preceding the wedding, in a motor 
car at 6.30 in the morning; he appeared in the uni- 
form of an Admiral. The first act of the day was 
an attendance at Mass in company with his bride- 
elect. Shortly after 8 o'clock the couple were 
driven in an electric brougham straight to the Min- 
istry of Marine where the Princess donned her 
bridal robes. In this she was assisted by ladies-in- 
waiting, who had come in her suite from London, 
the last touch being added by Queen Maria Cris- 
tina who placed upon the head of the Princess the 
bridal veil. This veil was of Alengon lace and 
was the very one worn by herself at the time of her 
marriage to King Alfonso XII. This veil is being 
carefully preserved by Queen Victoria, who says 
that at the marriage of her first daughter she hopes 
to place it upon her head. 

In Spain it is customary for the bridegroom to 
present his bride with her wedding gown; this is 
a universal custom common in all ranks of society. 
Don Alfonso, aided by his Royal Mother, had had 
prepared one of the most elaborate and exquisitely 
embroidered gowns ever seen at the Spanish Court 
Forty of the most expert Spanish women were en- 
gaged for fifty-six days in making this wonderful 
I creation. Or, to put it another way, one woman, 
working constantly every day of the year, Sun- 
days excepted, would have required almost pre- 
cisely seven years to the task! The material was 
of the richest white satin and cloth of silver, cut in 
the style of dress known as Louis XVI. The dress 

" To the Marquis of Villalobar. 
The end crowns the work." 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 27 

was bordered with dull silver, slightly burnished 
and shaded at intervals and trimmed with exqui- 
site rose-point lace, which was festooned over a 
background of cloth of silver. The lace flounce 
was eighteen inches in width and the whole gown 
was relieved with loops of orange blossoms. 

The wedding took place in the Church of San 
Jeronimo, which is on the far side of the city from 
the Royal Palace. The church is not large, but 
there are no large churches in Madrid, Madrid 
being one of the most modern of all continental 
capitals, and big churches of the cathedral order 
are mostly relics of the Middle Ages. The selec- 
tion of St. Jeronimo for the event was made in or- 
der that the bridal procession should of necessity 
pass across practically the entire city, thus afford- 
ing the largest number of people an opportunity to 
view the spectacle. 

The marriage service conformed to every last 
detail with the etiquette and rites of the Roman 
Catholic Church in Spain. The Archbishop of 
Toledo, Cardinal Sancha, was assisted by Dr. Brin- 
dle, Bishop of Nottingham, who had come from 
England especially for this occasion. 

The bridal procession advanced very slowly, re- 
ceiving the homage of the distinguished congrega- 
tion section by section, the Spanish legislators, the 
courtiers, Ambassadors, the Special Missions, and 
the foreign Princes saluting in turn. Preceded by 
a crucifix, while the band continued playing the 
National Anthem, the King and his bride ad- 

28 Royal Romances of To-day 

vanced and took their places before the altar. 
After kneeling for a short period, King Alfonso 
rose, and passing behind the Princess approached 
his mother, who was on the bride's left, and knelt 
and kissed her hand. Queen Cristina, bending 
over, affectionately embraced her son who there- 
upon returned to his prie-dieu before the altar. 
Following the bridegroom's example Princess Vic- 
toria Eugenie descended the altar steps and passed 
down the nave to where her mother stood beside 
the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and 
warmly embraced her. The Princess then re- 
turned to the altar and the religious ceremony be- 

Cardinal Sancha, arrayed in his Pontifical robes 
and having on either side the assisting bishops, gave 
his archiepiscopal crozier to the Master of Cere- 
monies, and addressed King Alfonso and his bride 
as follows: 

"High and Mighty Senor Don Alfonso XIII, 
of Bourbon and Austria, Catholic King of Spain, I 
demand of your Majesty, as I also demand of your 
Royal Highness Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena Maria 
Cristina, Princess of Battenberg, to say if you know 
of any impediment against the celebration of this 
marriage, or against the validity or legality; That 
is to say, if there exists between your Majesty and 
your Royal Highness any impediment either of 
consanguinity, affinity, or spiritual relationship; if 
you have made a vow of chastity or of religion; 
and, finally, if there is any other impediment, your 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 29 

Majesty and your Royal Highness shall declare it. 
And the same I demand of all those here present. 
For the second and the third time I require that 
if there exist any impediment whatsoever you shall 
freely make it known." 

Having concluded these questions, the Cardinal 
paused for a while, and then, turning to the Prin- 
cess, said: 

"Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena Maria Cristina, 
Princess of Battenberg, does your Royal Highness 
desire to have Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and 
Austria, Catholic King of Spain, for your lawful 
spouse and husband by words de presente, as is 
ordained by the Holy Catholic Apostolic and 
Roman Church?" 

This was a very solemn moment, and not a whis- 
per broke the almost painful silence. All eyes 
were turned toward the Princess who replied, in a 
clear voice: 

"Yes, I do desire him." (Si, quiero.) 

His Eminence then said: 

"Does your Royal Highness consent to be the 
lawful spouse and wife of the high and mighty 
Senor Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and Aus- 
tria, Catholic King of Spain?" 

Looking at His Majesty, Princess Victoria Eu- 
genie replied, in clear tones: 

"Yes, I consent." (Si, otorgo.) 

Continuing, Cardinal Sancha asked: 

"Does your Royal Highness accept the said 
Senor Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and Aus- 

30 Royal Romances of To-day 

tria, King of Spain, for your lawful spouse and 

With even stronger emphasis, the Princess re- 

"Yes, I accept him." (Si, recibo.) 

Cardinal Sancha thereupon asked the three ques- 
tions, in identical terms of King Alfonso. His 
Majesty, with his eyes fixed upon his bride, and in 
a strong and clear voice, which was distinctly heard 
in every part of the church, answered to the several 
questions, "I desire," "I consent," and "I accept." 

At this moment, Princess Ena betrayed emotion 
and glanced toward the place where her mother 
sat. Queen Maria Cristina was scarcely able to 
restrain her tears and looked alternately from the 
King to his bride and from the bride to her son. 
King Alfonso, who was perfectly calm, gave his 
hand to the Princess according to the directions of 
the Master of the Ceremonies, and while the Royal 
couple had their hands joined, Cardinal Sancha 
took his archiepiscopal staff and said: 

"And I, on the part of Almighty God and of the 
Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, and of the Holy 
Mother Church, do join in matrimony your Maj- 
esty, Don Alfonso XIII, of Bourbon and Austria, 
Catholic King of Spain, to your Royal Highness, 
Victoria Eugenie Julia Ena Maria Cristina, Prin- 
cess of Battenberg, and I confirm this Sacrament 
of matrimony in the name of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. — Amen." 

Then the Bridal Mass began, the King and 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 31 

Queen kneeling, and as the swell of music filled 
the church and died away, a faintly tinkling bell 
announced the Elevation of the Host. All knelt 
with heads bowed low — the most impressive mo- 
ment of great silence broken only by the clinking 
of swords and the hum of distant voices outside 
the church. Mass over, the Royal bride and bride- 
groom proceeded to the dais. A little lower down 
the Queen-Mother, in her beautiful robes and 
splendid jewels, stood beside her Chair of State, 
while kneeling on either side were the heralds, in 
their gorgeous uniforms. Princess Victoria Eu- 
genie, now Queen of Spain, lovely, young, digni- 
fied and looking "every inch a Queen," standing 
beside the youthful and most charming King- 
Bridegroom, whose face was beaming with proud 
happiness, all made a picture, touching, beautiful 
and never to be forgotten by any of those present. 
Then came a most picturesque and ideal scene. 
The newly-married Royal pair proceeded arm-in- 
arm to the spot nearby where formerly a grand old 
monastery had stood, and where there still remains 
a ruined cloister, and here the register was signed, 
the King having chosen this spot a few days be- 
fore the wedding. One corner of the cloister had 
been screened off with magnificent tapestries of 
world-wide renown, on which were depicted scenes 
from Don Quixote; on a wide table, covered with 
crimson cloth, stood the necessary implements — a 
silver inkstand, pens, and the books in which the 
signatures were to be entered. The procession of 

32 Royal Romances of To-day 

Royal personages who followed the bride and 
bridegroom in pairs through the quaint old clois- 
ter was led by the Prince of Wales, who conducted 
the Queen-Mother; then came the Archduke Fran- 
cis Ferdinand of Austria with the Princess of 
Wales, followed by the other Royalties in order of 

On the return of the procession to the church, 
the assemblage dispersed according to Spanish 
Court etiquette, in order of precedence, commenc- 
ing with the lowest, each couple advancing to the 
dais, where they bowed and curtsied to the King 
and Queen, who were seated in their Chairs of 
State. The Prince and Princess of Wales were 
the last of the Royal guests to go. The Queen- 
Mother then rose, and, advancing to the front of 
the dais, made a reverence to her son and his bride, 
both of whom rose simultaneously and returned 
the salutation. Last of all the Royal personages, 
the King and Queen passed down the nave under 
the baldaquin and the gorgeous scene melted away. 

Just before midday, the sound of saluting can- 
non announced to all that the King and Queen had 
left the church, and the procession started for the 
palace in the following order: 


The Kings of Arms. 


Miss Cochrane 

Lord and Lady William Cecil 

Gentlemen-in-Waiting on Her Majesty the Queen. 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 33 


Her Majesty Queen Maria Cristina's 

Mistress of the Robes 

The First Huntsman 

Gentlemen-of-the-Chamber-in-Waiting on 

His Majesty the King. 


Mistress of the Robes of the Palace 

Grand Chamberlain of Queen Maria Cristina. 


Superior Chief of the Palace 

Grand Chamberlain of their Majesties 

Commandant-General of the Halberdiers. 


Princes Leopold and Maurice of Battenberg 


Princess Marie of Battenberg 

(Princess of Erbach-Schonberg) 

Prince Alexander of Teck 

Prince Alexander of Battenberg. 


The Infante Don Alfonso of Orleans 

Princes Rainer and Philip of Bourbon. 


The Infantas Dona Paz and Dona Eulalia. 


The Infantas Dona Maria Teresa and Dona 

Maria Isabel 

The Infante Don Fernando of Bavaria and Prince 

Gennaro of Bourbon. 

34 Royal Romances of To-day 


Princess Frederica of Hanover 

Princess Alexander of Teck. 


The Duchess of Saxe-Coburg 

Princess Beatrice of Saxe-Coburg 

Prince Henry of Prussia. 


Prince Eugene of Sweden 

Crown Prince of Monaco 

Princes Louis Ferdinand and Alfonso of Bavaria. 


The Duke and Duchess of Genoa 

Prince Albert of Prussia 

Prince Andrew of Greece. 


Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria 

Crown Prince of Portugal 

Prince Albert of Belgium 

The Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia. 


The Prince and Princess of Wales. 


Her Majesty the Queen, Dona Maria Cristina 

Princess Henry of Battenberg 

The Infante Don Carlos 

The Infante Don Alfonso (Heir-presumptive). 




Their Majesties the KING and QUEEN. 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 35 

The spectacle along the route of the return jour- 
ney was one of indescribable rejoicing and excite- 
ment. The Pageant was magnificent, and the pro- 
cession took nearly an hour to pass. The batteries 
of artillery thundered out a royal salute, trumpets 
blared, the bells of the churches pealed forth, and 
the populace raised a mighty roar of acclamation. 
Coach after coach passed along the route — each to 
be greeted with cheers by the delighted crowds. 
The beautiful "mahogany coach," in which were 
seated Queen Cristina, Princess Henry of Batten- 
berg, Don Carlos, and his son Don Alfonso, came 
in for a specially warm greeting. That contain- 
ing the Prince and Princess of Wales was also re- 
ceived with shouts of welcome. At last came that 
which most of all the multitude had assembled to 
see, and to greet with demonstrations of the great- 
est enthusiasm — the coach of the Royal Crown 
drawn by eight superb horses, with nodding white 
plumes, and containing the Royal couple. That 
the young King and his beautiful bride were im- 
mensely popular there could be no doubt. One 
had only to hear the hearty and repeated cries of 
"Viva el Rey!" "Viva la Reina!" to know that the 
young couple had won the hearts of the people and 
all Spain was rejoicing at their wedding. 



The last street to be traversed was the Calle 
Mayor. All the world remembers how, as the end 
of the street was almost reached, a huge bouquet in 
which was hidden a small iron casket was tossed 
from a balcony, striking immediately in front of 
the royal carriage. With a tremendous roar, the 
casket exploded, killing more than thirty persons 
and wounding over one hundred, besides killing 
and maiming a number of horses. People in front 
of the royal carriage were killed, and behind the 
carriage, and even on the balconies above the street. 
I have seen the effect of many bombs — in Russia 
and the Caucasus — but never have I seen the re- 
sults of a bomb as extensive as this one. Great 
chunks were literally gouged out of huge granite 
blocks in nearby buildings, and people on the bal- 
conies at a distance where safety would seem abso- 
lute met instant death. To this day the traces of 
this bomb are to be seen in the Calle Mayor, to 
my thinking one of the most curious and interest- 
ing sights in all Madrid. 

The smoke had not cleared when the King, tak- 
ing the head of his bride and Queen between both 
his hands, kissed her tenderly. 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 37 

"Are you wounded?" he anxiously asked. 

"No, no, I am not hurt. I swear it," she replied. 

The King threw open the carriage door and as 
he stepped out, calmly saluted a flag which hap- 
pened to be fluttering near by. Then he assisted 
the Queen, whose beautiful wedding gown became 
smirched with blood. 

According to an ancient Spanish custom a so- 
called "carriage of respect" was immediately be- 
hind the royal coach, a carriage which apparently 
was originally designed for any emergency. The 
King called for this carriage and after seeing the 
Queen comfortably seated he turned to his equer- 
ries and in a clear voice said: "Very slowly to the 

Arrived at the Palace, the King sprang lightly 
to the ground, and, having given his hand to the 
Queen, their Majesties ascended the flight of steps 
with ceremonious deportment, as if nothing unto- 
ward had occurred. The King saluted all the 
Princes in accordance with the demands of eti- 
quette; and when one of the Royal guests asked 
him if he remembered that this was the anniver- 
sary of the attempt in the Rue de Rohan, in Paris, 
he replied with inimitable spirit, "Yes, I remem- 
ber, and I notice that the bomb has grown." 

As soon as the King had arrived in the Palace 
he asked for exact information as to the number of 
victims. He received the reply, "It is not yet pos- 
sible to know; we only know that there are many 
dead and many wounded." Then the King passed 

38 Royal Romances of To-day 

his hand across his forehead, and, as if the words 
came from the bottom of his heart, said slowly, 
"Now I feel what it is to be King; and I feel it 
because if I were not King I might have had the 
consolation of tears in the presence of so much 
blood and so many victims." His words were 
echoed in the heart of his young Queen who was, 
indeed, coming into her queenship under stress and 

The next morning the King and his bride, evad- 
ing the court guard, swept out of the Palace gates 
in a motor car and slowly traversed the main streets 
of the city without escort or guard. Every inch 
of the way their Majesties were frantically cheered 
by the populace who appreciated their courage and 
considerateness in thus proving to the world at 
large that they had suffered no injury. Queen 
Victoria as she was henceforth to be known, ac- 
knowledged the salutations by bowing continu- 
ously to right and to left and constantly waving her 
handkerchief in greeting to the people. 

The members of the Royal Household were be- 
side themselves with fear when they saw the King 
and Queen, in an automobile, pass out of the Pal- 
ace gates into the city absolutely unarmed and un- 
escorted. But the King was wise that day. He 
threw both himself and his Queen-bride on to the 
honour of the people. As the car moved through 
the crowded thoroughfares, the people were first 
stunned with amazement and then bewilderment 
gave place to a delirium of joyous enthusiasm. 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 39 

Eager hands grasped the car to pull and push it. 
Women fought desperately to get close to the brave 
couple, and the Queen's dress was actually torn to 
shreds by the multitude who sought to kiss the hem 
of her garment. When they returned to the Pal- 
ace, it was 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Thus began 
the Queenship of the little English Princess who 
heretofore had led a quiet, sheltered life in her 
island home and among the Scottish braes and 
and moors and in the tranquil atmosphere of the 
Court of St. James. 

Queen Victoria at this time may have recalled 
the lines of George Meredith: 

" We see in mould the Rose unfold, 
The Soul through blood and tears." 

Verily the soul of Princess Ena was tempered by 
fire and brought to its fulness through blood and 
tears on the day when she became at once a wife 
and a Queen. 


DON ALFONSO took his bride at once from the 
Royal Palace at Madrid to the Palace of La 
Granja (the Grange or farm-house) behind the 
Guadarrama Mountains, in Castile, for their 
honeymoon. This palace is situated on a slightly 
pinnacled hill four thousand feet above the level of 
the sea, a veritable "Castle in the Air." La Granja 
is surrounded by lovely woods, a garden which in- 
cludes some three hundred and sixty acres, prob- 
ably the finest in Spain, and even Versailles cannot 
boast of more numerous or lovelier fountains than 
this charming country residence. The laying out 
of the gardens alone cost eight millions of dollars. 
It is easy to understand why King Alfonso selected 
this spot for the honeymoon ; it is the one spot in 
Spain, above all others, where royal lovers might 
hope to find seclusion amidst bowers of foliage 
musical with birds, and where they might hope to 
wipe from their recollection the vivid memories 
of the tragic scene of their wedding day. 

Spain is one of the richest of countries in 
regard to the number of its palaces. Until the 
reign of Philip II, the Kings of Spain did 
not maintain any one permanent Royal residence, 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 41 

but journeyed from region to region, maintaining 
a Palace in practically every district of the coun- 
try, and, as a result of this custom much of the 
history of Spain is to be found and embodied 
and crystallised in the various Castles which are 
inherited by the Royal family of to-day. There 
is the Alcazar at Seville, which is associated with 
Pedro the Cruel. There is the Retiro, built to 
divert the attention of Philip IV from the decay 
and backsliding of his country; the Escorial in 
which the gloomy and melancholy Philip II has 
perpetuated his own memory in stone; and La 
Granja, which marks the bitterness and humilia- 
tion of Cristina before Garca and his rude soldiery; 
and Miramar at San Sebastian, in which a wid- 
owed Queen secluded herself to mourn the loss of 
her kingly spouse! Time was indeed when, with- 
in comparatively easy distance of Madrid, there 
were no less than thirty-five Royal residences; to- 
day only five of these, however, are still kept up, 
but throughout the rest of the country are many 
other Palaces. 

It would be indeed a delightful task to write 
an entire book on the palaces of the Kings of Spain. 
El Pardo, Aranjuez, Miramar, El Escorial, El 
Alcazar and the Royal Palace of Madrid, but even 
then it would indeed be difficult to describe in 
words the beauty and the wondrous maze and laby- 
rinths of woodland and garden; the galleries of 
tapestry and painting; the statutes; the armory; the 
varied treasures which they all contain. George 

42 Royal Romances of To-day 

Borrow, who early made familiar to the English- 
speaking world the wondrous beauties and treasure 
houses of all Spain, waxed most eloquent over the 
palace of Alcazar at Seville. "Cold, cold must 
be the heart," exclaimed Borrow at the Alcazar, 
"which can remain insensible to the beauties of 
this magic scene. Often have I shed tears of rap- 
ture whilst I beheld it and listened to the thrush 
and the nightingale piping forth their melodious 
songs in the woods and inhaled the breeze laden 
with the perfume of the thousand orange gardens 
of Seville." La Granja, however, remains the 
favourite abiding place of all the present Royal 
family, hallowed by the sweet memories of honey- 
moon days. 

Each summer the Royal family have returned to 
La Granja for two months. Here as nowhere else 
the Queen leads a life of charming simplicity, a 
life almost like that she was accustomed to in Eng- 
land. Here the King and Queen have but little 
company. They walk and ride and drive together. 
The King is a keen sportsman and while he shoots, 
the Queen goes a-fishing. Trout are abundant in 
the streams that come dashing down from the 
higher mountains and she is adept at landing 
the speckled beauties — only she will not bait her 
own hooks! 

A golf course has been laid out and at this game 
the Queen excels her royal spouse. As a matter 
of fact polo is more to the King's taste and to La 
Granja he always takes the best of his string of 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 43 

forty polo ponies. Here it may be truly said the 
King and Queen are idyllically happy. Free 
from the ceremony of political and social circles 
they are the boy and girl sweethearts once more. 
They go through country lanes hand in hand and 
follow woodland paths unescorted. As La 
Granja was their haven of quiet after their turbu- 
lent wedding day, so has it since been their har- 
bour of peace and happiness away from the har- 
assing cares of sovereignty. 

Queen Victoria Eugenie had been only a few 
days in the country which was henceforth to be her 
own, when she had made great progress in the win- 
ning of the nation. Her sympathy for the con- 
demned man, her poise and self-command in the 
face of shock and danger had all 'a tremendous in- 
fluence in prejudicing people in her favour. If 
possible, a yet more difficult task now confronted 
her; for she faced the daily scrutiny of court and 

One of the earliest duties which she had to per- 
form was to attend a bull fight. The Spanish peo- 
ple could never give absolute allegiance to a sover- 
eign who did not in some measure share their 
joy and enthusiasm in this national and tradition- 
honoured sport. So to a bull fight went the Queen. 
Simple English girl that she was, with fine sensi- 
bilities and delicate feelings, we can well appreci- 
ate her horror at it all. When the moment had 
arrived for the signal to be given from the Royal 
Box for the fight to begin all eyes were turned ex- 

44 Royal Romances of To-day 

pectantly toward the King, but it was the young 
Queen who fluttered the white scarf. When the 
crowd saw this, they rose like one man, frantically 
cheering their Queen. It was distinctly a popu- 
lar thing to do. 

Ordinarily, six bulls are despatched at a single 
fight, but before death, each bull generally kills 
one to three horses besides horribly goring others 
and sometimes injuring one or more of the men. 
That a bull fight is not a pleasant thing to watch, 
I know, for I have seen several. At one which I 
attended on the Day of Ascension (bull fights are 
always held on Sundays and religious fete days) 
the killing of the six bulls was accompanied by the 
outright killing of eleven horses and the maiming 
of four others, while one man was tossed high in 
the air by a bull and two others hurt by their 
horses falling on them. The fourteen thousand 
spectators were delirious with delight and called 
it "a good bull fight." 

The young Queen remained in the Royal Box 
throughout the correda and thus concluded her in- 
itiation into Queenship. 

The year following the marriage sped to a happy 
close. The Queen grew increasingly popular. 
As the months went on, the shock of the wedding 
day drifted into a hideous memory, and the hearty 
enthusiasm of the Spanish people melted the some- 
what austere bearing which was native to her and 
she began to return the cordial greetings of the 
people everywhere she went. Nowhere on earth 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 45 

— not even in France — are beautiful women more 
appreciated than in Spain, and Queen Victoria is 
lovely to look upon. She is tall and of majestic 
bearing. She has an abundance of golden hair 
which she wears in long rich braids wound about 
the back of her head and generally loosely dressed 
in front. She has eyes of a singularly clear 
blue and quite as sharp and twinkling as are 
the King's snapping brown eyes, — and his are 

"Such exquisite colouring!" is an exclamation 
frequently heard concerning her. At nineteen she 
combined all the freshness of youth with the dig- 
nity of maturity, and to-day, though she is three 
times a mother, she retains the high colour char- 
acteristic of English women, and set against a 
clear white skin. The first time I saw her close, 
her cheeks reminded me of charming porcelain 
— if it were not trite, I would say a bit of Dresden. 

With all her instinctive charm she has a genius 
for dressing well. In this, again, she easily and 
naturally excels her sister Queens. 

When first she went to San Sebastian, the fashion- 
able mid-summer watering resort of Spain on the 
west coast near the northern border, she appeared 
like a modern Gainsborough duchess. Her 
stylishly cut gowns worn with grace and perfect 
naturalness were offset by great hats which were 
much in vogue at that time and which resemble 
the picturesque Gainsboroughs. She is a woman 
who can carry any amount of tasteful dressing, 

46 Royal Romances of To-day 

but her own preference seems to be toward sim- 

A more elegant woman one rarely sees anywhere 
in the world. The eye of the Spanish people, 
quick and sensitive to taste and beauty instantly 
caught all these details, and even if her nature, dis- 
position and character were not as they are, she 
would still be idolised for her beauty alone. 

At Seville, in the south of Spain, where beauty 
is worshipped even more than in the north the 
people went mad over her on her very first ride 
through the streets — from the railroad station to 
the Alcazar, as the ancient Moorish palace there 
is called. Throughout southern Spain — Anda- 
lusia — there is a Moorish strain noticeable in the 
people. The women are of the swarthy type, with 
large lustrous eyes, hair of ebony, and deep pas- 
sionate natures that one senses almost tangibly. 
As with most people of this type and character, 
the opposite type makes a tremendous appeal to 
them. The golden beauty of the fair young 
Queen took Seville by storm. To this day, and 
probably for all time, she is and will be known in 
the south as the "Idol of Andalusia." 

One small detail which pleased the Andalusian 
people greatly was her donning the mantilla on 
appropriate occasions. The mantilla is a lace 
scarf, sometimes white and sometimes black, which 
is worn over the head by women in place of a hat. 
Any lace scarf, however, is not a mantilla, and 
there are certain precise ways of wearing this typi- 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 47 

cally Spanish headdress. To be exact, there are 
thirteen different ways of adjusting it, each way 
adapted to a particular occasion. For example, 
the Sevillano will wear a black mantilla low over 
her head at a funeral, and a white mantilla high 
over her head, — the elevation being accomplished 
by the aid of a huge amber comb, — at a bull fight 
or in a slightly different arrangement for a wed- 
ding. The art of adjusting the mantilla is almost 
as difficult to acquire as the use of castanets or 
some of the Andalusian dance steps. It is seldom 
that one not of Spanish blood can wear a mantilla 
becomingly at all, but on Queen Victoria Eugenie 
it looks quite natural. A peculiar thing about 
Andalusian women is that they are so altogether 
charming in the mantilla that not one in a thou- 
sand can wear any kind of a dress hat, even one 
strictly a la mode and direct from Paris. The 
women of Southern Spain and the mantilla seem 
peculiarly adapted to go together. The cost of a 
mantilla by the way is as much as of the most 
fashionable Paris hats. Ordinary ones frequently 
cost from thirty to fifty dollars, and specially good 
ones as much as one hundred dollars. 

In Seville Queen Victoria Eugenie was as quick 
to catch the warmth of spirit as the Sevillanos were 
to appreciate her beauty and now, after five years 
she looks forward to her annual visit to the ancient 
Moorish city as to no other city in the kingdom. 

A custom which prevails in Andalusia and which 
nearly always results in extreme embarrassment to 

48 Royal Romances of To-day 

foreign ladies, is the passing of remarks out loud 
by passers-by, of a wholly personal nature. When 
an Andalusian sees a beautiful woman he is filled 
with joy and gladness and he wants her to know 
the pleasure she has given him by the flash of her 
eye or the loveliness of her face or form — so he 
spontaneously exclaims: "What beauty!" "How 
sympathetic." "Those eyes!" "Such hair!" or 
whatnot. The women of that country, from the 
lowliest right up to the wives of the most exclusive 
grandees, expect this appreciation and miss it when 
they fail to catch what strangers may say of them. 

Queen Victoria had had this all explained to 
her so that she was prepared for direct remarks 
of this nature. Once she laughed outright as an 
enthusiastic Andalusian cried out: "You are not 
only Queen of Spain ; you are the Queen of Beauti- 
ful Women." 

In her visits to Seville, the Queen is ever and 
always reminded of her dearly beloved father, for 
the one letter which she had from him was writ- 
ten from Seville, the letter in which he had told 
her that one day she would come to this lovely land 
and be very happy. This is a happy memory, de- 
spite the tinge of sadness, and in Seville, she says 
she is always most happy. 



WHAT manner of man is the young King whom 
the Island Princess married? 

Don Alfonso XIII is unique among the kings of 
the earth, inasmuch as he was practically born a 
king. His father, Alfonso XII, died five months 
before he was born. The widowed Queen, his 
mother, became the Regent of the Throne, but the 
little Alfonso XIII knew, from the time he knew 
anything, that he was a ruler already, where most 
kings have spent years of preparation for kingship 
while heirs-apparent. 

He was born May 17, 1886. He received the 
tenderest care and attention from his mother; her 
favourite pet name for him while he was a baby 
was u Puby." From the time of his birth he ap- 
peared delicate, which occasioned the greatest 
solicitude for his physical well-being. 

He has always manifested the greatest love for 
his mother. From earliest childhood he en- 
tertained for her a supreme regard and affection, 
and frequently when he was inclined to be head- 
strong and oppose the wishes of his governesses the 
Queen Regent — as she was called until Alfonso 
reached the age of sixteen — would be called to 


50 Royal Romances of To-day 

make him obey. Her methods were all her own, 
her coercion only that of love. 

One winter morning Alfonso was reluctant 
to take his usual cold bath and stubbornly re- 
mained in bed. His nurses made appeal after ap- 
peal to him, but his Majesty remained obdurate. 
Finally, in despair, the nurse went to his mother 
the Queen Regent. 

"You must take your bath, Baby," said the 
Queen, coming to his bedside. 

The baby king gave no answer. 

"If I tell you to do it, you will — won't you?" 

Again no response. 

"Very well, then," continued the Queen, "I will 
not ask you again, but I shall go to my room and 
cry because you will not obey me. Do you wish 

"No, no, mamma," cried the young Alfonso, and 
flinging aside the bed clothes he sprang from the 
bed and took his cold plunge. 

King Alfonso was brought up in this atmos- 
phere of love and affection and it is doubtless 
owing to this that his own nature is so warm and 
lovable to-day. 

When he was four years old, he fell very ill. 
His anxious mother watched constantly by his bed- 
side. One day, he turned his little face toward 
where she was sitting and said: "Are you not very 
tired, mother mine? Do you love me so very 
much? Do go to bed. You must be so tired. I 
think I ought to send you away." 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 51 

Not until he was seven years of age did he begin 
any regular course of studies and then he began 
with only one hour a day. In a short time, how- 
ever, he had learned to read and write easily. 
Much of his boyhood was spent at the beautiful 
Miramar palace. After he had learned to read 
and write, the study of geography and history 
came next and a little later French and Latin. 
From all accounts, the boy Alfonso was quite as 
full of mischief and capers as are most small boys. 

One of his Chamberlains relates the story that, 
when he was eight years old, streams of water 
were one day seen running down the corridor from 
the bathroom of the Royal Palace. The door of 
the apartment was securely fastened and the little 
fellow refused admission to any one until finally 
the Queen herself was sent for, and, when she de- 
manded admittance, found her Royal son enjoying 
what he called "A Naval Battle in High Seas," 
the ships being logs which he had collected from 
various wood baskets and his high seas, the over- 
flowing bathtub. 

Queen Cristina found Alfonso a little backward 
in acquiring German, and as none of the text-books 
then used in Spain seemed adapted to his 
use, she went to the trouble of preparing a gram- 
mar for him, which enabled him to become fa- 
miliar with the rules of the language in a simple 
and amusing form. Alfonso has always been of 
an inquiring turn of mind, and the interest he has 
recently displayed in aeroplanes and automobiles 

52 Royal Romances of To-day 

is the natural outcome of the interest he displayed 
in all mechanics when a mere boy. 

Mr. Frederic Courtland Penfield has related as 
one of his experiences in Spain the breaking down 
of his motor car near La Granja which necessitated 
sending to Madrid for new parts to replace the 
damaged mechanism. While the men were at 
work upon the machine, the King happened along, 
and, not content with watching the progress of the 
repairs, he proceeded to direct the men himself, 
getting down under the car and examining mi- 
nutely each of its parts and aiding the men by con- 
stant suggestion. He took apparently all the in- 
terest in the work of a boy who has removed the 
back of his first watch to see the wheels go round. 
Not until the car was ready to proceed did the 
King leave the spot. 

As a matter of fact, Don Alfonso is the most ar- 
dent motorist in Spain and the most skilful if not 
the most reckless driver. He has several 70 h. p. 
machines and when he drives these machines in 
the country, he sometimes goes at the rate of 
seventy-five and eighty miles an hour. During 
the Spring months, when the court is at La Granja, 
the King comes to Madrid several times a week. 
The distance is ninety kilometres and he allows 
one hour and a quarter for the journey. The road 
lies right across the Guadarrama mountains which 
rise to a height of six thousand feet. The ascent 
and descent of these mountains is tremendously 
steep, being made by a series of loops like the 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 53 

roads which cross the Alps in Switzerland. Only 
the most skilled chauffeurs can go over this road 
at even a moderate rate of speed, but the King 
goes all the way at high speed, averaging for the 
entire distance nearly a mile a minute. 



AMAZING few are the people outside his king- 
dom who do not know him who appreciate the un- 
usual personality of this precocious young king. 
Indeed, he must be known to be appreciated. 

A tall, athletic young man of narrow but muscu- 
lar physique, with a smooth, olive skin, dartling 
black-brown eyes and a kaleidoscopic expression, 
— Don Alfonso is one to command attention, inter- 
est and respect. He sits a horse superbly. He ex- 
cels in everything he undertakes. He is the surest 
shot in Spain; the most skilful as well as the most 
reckless motorist, a capable yachtsman, an efficient, 
dependable polo-player, — above all he has infinite 
pluck and daring. The world is familiar with his 
courage not only at the time of the bomb on his 
wedding day but on many other occasions when he 
has displayed iron nerve and superb poise. The 
first time I had a formal audience with His Maj- 
esty, I gathered my real impressions of the man. 
After this audience, I saw him manv times and 
under varied circumstances, but always the im- 
pressions of the first day were deepened and con- 
firmed. As I entered his study in the palace of 
Madrid, he came with quick, nervous step toward 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 55 

me and grasping me firmly by the hand, spoke 
words of greeting in the Spanish language. 

"Your Majesty has no objection to English?" I 
asked, as he still tightly held my hand. 

"Objection? Rather not, provided you can 
stand for my wretched English." This was the 
only note of affectation in King Alfonso's entire 
conversation. He speaks English fluently, cor- 
rectly and idiomatically. 

"Put aside your hat and gloves and sit down. 
Let us talk," he continued. I placed my hat aside 
as he bade me and started to seat myself opposite 
the chair His Majesty had already taken. 

"Not there, not so far away," he exclaimed. 
"Come here," and he patted with the palm of his 
hand the sofa which was in juxtaposition to his 

"Have a cigarette," he added, as I moved close 
to him and he held out a silver cigarette case with 
a small monogram in the upper left hand corner. 

"May I smoke?" I queried, I must confess, in 
some surprise. 

"Naturally, why not? Here" — and before I 
had fairly taken the cigarette, His Majesty, with 
characteristic quickness had struck a wax vesta and 
was holding it toward my mouth that I might get 
my light. 

My slow wits happily returned in time for me 
to catch the match from the Royal fingers, to offer 
it first to him and then light my own. These 
were the preliminaries. They were over in a 

56 Royal Romances of To-day 

minute. After we had lighted our cigarettes, he 
leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees 
and the joints of his fingers closed against each 
other before him. He spoke rapidly but thought- 
fully, and in his voice was the ring of a man of 

Beneath the smooth, olive skin and the flashing 
black eyes, one felt a strong, passionate nature. 
One got instantly behind the glamour of royalty 
and saw only the man, the man of conviction and 
of courage,— the man of Destiny. 

No photograph has ever portrayed King Al- 
fonso. He is unphotographable. The man is not 
in his features but in his expressions, his manners, 
his atmosphere of charming manliness; above all 
in the scintillating glints of his flashing eyes. 

"You have come at a very interesting moment in 
our history," he said, "because it is a moment of 
change for Spain. We are just recovering from 
our long era of costly wars, ending with the disas- 
trous war with America, and our recent colonial 
wars." He paused and smiled genially as he added, 
"In the war with America, we were badly beaten, 
but that is a matter which has now passed into his- 
tory and that page of our history we have turned 
over. I think I can speak for everyone in Spain 
when I say that not the slightest feeling of rancour 
remains with us; and I have ample evidence that 
the American people have none but the best of 
wishes for Spain." I replied that many Americans 
were ready to congratulate Spain in being well rid 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 57 

of Cuba and the Philippines, those frightfully ex- 
pensive drains on the resources of Spain — which 
are proving a by no means light drain upon the 
resources of America. 

His Majesty's eyes twinkled merrily as he looked 
directly into my face. After a brief pause, he 
went on : "However that may be, a new era for 
Spain began with the close of the war. The re- 
cent war in Africa cost us heavily — fifty-three 
million pesetas ($10,600,000)." 

"Surely that is not much as the cost of wars go 
nowadays," I interrupted. 

"No, quite true — for a modern war, it was not 
so expensive," he returned, "especially in view of 
the results we have obtained." 

Then he sketched the present lines of Spanish 
influence in Morocco and outlined the policy of 
Spain for the development of this influence and 
the increase of trade. Incidentally, he paid a high 
tribute to the courage and marksmanship of the 
Moors. "They don't fire till they see the whites 
of the eyes of the approaching troops and they 
pick the officers first of all with amazing ac- 

"That war being now over," he went on, "we 
have entered a period of peace and it is my aim to 
further the development of Spain in every way 
possible. It would be interesting to realise all that 
we have already begun, what we are about to do 
and what we hope to do in the next years before 


58 Royal Romances of To-day 

I lighted another cigarette and the King, with- 
out shifting his position, began afresh. 

"First of all, we are giving our attention to each 
branch of the State separately. I have my ambi- 
tions for the army, the reestablishment of the 
navy, the general education of the people and how 
we hope to deal with other internal problems, the 
Republicans, the Socialists, the Anarchists and 

During the last decade I have listened to states- 
men and leaders of men in almost every country of 
Europe and in America, but I have never met any 
man who could say as much in an hour as did King 
Alfonso; I have never met a politician or states- 
man who was so intimately familiar with small de- 
tails, and I have never met anyone who could talk 
so succinctly to the point. He elucidated each 
question with graphic clearness. Each subject 
that he took up in turn, he summarised. As a feat 
of intellectual conversation, it was without parallel 
so far as my experience extends. He expressed 
himself very rapidly, in clear, incisive language, 
showing toward each topic an enthusiasm and per- 
sonal interest almost incredible. At the same time, 
he watched my expression carefully and at the least 
shadow of question which I betrayed, he delved 
deeper into details in order to make everything 
perfectly clear. I touched upon the question of 
the Church in Spain and found His Majesty's 
views as liberal and as clear as they were 
upon the secular subjects. He went on, however, 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 59 

to explain that any hasty reform was impractical, 
although it was the project of his government to 
undertake all of them as circumstances would per- 
mit. If he were to introduce liberal and progress- 
ive measures at once, the opposition would throw 
the whole country into a turmoil. 

Politically, the attitude of the King is for all 
that makes for the common weal of Spain in the 
platforms of all parties and movements — even 
those that are opposed to his monarchy. 

The amazing development of Spain during the 
last decade is directly due to the extraordinary 
dynamic spirit which has been exhibited by this 
remarkable young King. No department of na- 
tional life has been neglected by him. 

The Iberian peninsula has long been regarded 
as a doubtful, not to say dangerous proposition 
from a financial standpoint. Spain and Portugal 
have been judged more or less alike. No greater 
mistake could ever have been made. Portugal has 
long been in the hands of aristocratic buccaneers, 
pirates in broadcloth, but none the less rascals of 
a most desperate character. The Portugal Ship 
of State was looted and scuttled by the very class 
who constituted her monarchy. Nowhere could 
one find a dominant personality. 

Spain on the other hand is well equipped with 
statesmen, with diplomats, with politicians of large 
calibre and more so now than in any decade of re- 
cent centuries and all because of the personal at- 
tention given to the affairs of state by King Al- 

60 Royal Romances of To-day 

fonso. Don Alfonso is the hero and the idol of 
the whole Spanish army. From earliest boyhood, 
he devoted a large part of his time to building and 
strengthening the army and increasing its esprit de 
corps. Two forenoons of every week, he devotes 
to military audiences. He never tires of review- 
ing troops, often leaving the palace at six o'clock 
in the morning to visit some outlying garrison. 
When he is caught overnight in some remote town, 
he is sure to be up early the next morning to in- 
spect any body of troops which may be 
quartered in the neighbourhood. I recall once 
seeing the King overtake a body of infantry in the 
street called Arenal, in Madrid. As soon as the 
royal automobile came up even with the rear rank, 
the order was given to the troops to have them 
swing round so as to face the sovereign in salute 
as he went past. The King at once rose to his feet 
in the car, at the same time uncovering, and as the 
car swept by the regiment, his piercing, intelligent 
eyes seemed to dart an individual glance to each 
soldier along the entire line. Not once did his 
eyes wander from the troops, although a hurrahing 
crowd blocked the pavement on the other side of 
the street. Ask any soldiers of the Mellila cam- 
paign who wore the cool sun helmets that the King 
presented from his private purse, speak the name 
of the King to any officer of the Spanish army and 
see him square his shoulders. 

King Alfonso does not trust entirely to military 
supremacy, however, for he believes in the peace- 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 61 

ful progression of his country and appreciates to 
the full the necessity of economic development. 
At the time of the Spanish-American war when 
Cuba and the Philippines were lost to Spain, it 
seemed as if her greatest markets had been taken 
from her, but during recent years, since Don Al- 
fonso has extensively taken up the reins of sover- 
eignty, he has stimulated commerce and trade in 
other parts of the world. Spain has seaports 
which give her splendid natural commercial ad- 
vantages. A few years since, Spain went quietly 
but earnestly to work to build up an exchange trade 
with the new countries of the world which seemed 
to offer the greatest opportunity for large commer- 
cial expansion, — trade with the Argentine Repub- 
lic, Paraguay, Brazil, Chili, Peru and Mexico. 
During the last few years, under the wise counsel 
of the King, these states have been courted diplo- 
matically and socially to the incalculable stimulus 
of trade; and with what result? In ten years, 
Spanish bonds have doubled in value. Spain now 
sends $12,000,000 worth of textiles, minerals and 
wines to the Argentine while only six years ago, 
1905, the amount was only $6,000,000. In Uru- 
guay, almost a proportionate increase has been wit- 
nessed since 1905 when $9,000,000 worth of ex- 
ports went from Spain and it is probable that with- 
in the near future, Spain will be sending $20,000,- 
000 worth of stuffs to Uruguay alone. 

Spain's trade with Mexico has been particularly 
happy because the credit system is practically 

62 Royal Romances of To-day 

non-existent. Of $7,000,000 worth of goods 
shipped to Mexico in one recent year, 90 per cent. 
was paid for in cash. To the United States, Spain 
sends annually approximately $8,000,000 worth of 
minerals, cork, olives, Malaga grapes, etc., and in 
return purchases from us nearly $30,000,000 worth 
of goods. Raw cotton is the chief import from 
the United States, but modern machinery forms a 
big item. Spain, however, buys most of her goods 
from Great Britain and the amount shipped annu- 
ally to the Iberian Kingdom averages $80,000,000. 
This is the result of long years of trade study, 
nursed and built up and consequently it is less sig- 
nificant than the trade with South America which 
has received such extraordinary stimulus, not in 
ten but in five years, or in other words, since King 
Alfonso has been personally concerned with this 
phase of the development of his kingdom. Spain 
is a country in which the people went in a single 
bound from petroleum to electricity and this is 
indicative of her entire development. She is 
rapidly skipping through the gas stage of progress 
through which the rest of the world has so long 

The keynote of King Alfonso's character is in 
his courageous determination. Once convinced of 
what is right, I believe he would be as steadfast as 
the rugged crags of the Pyrenees, that he could 
be swayed by neither favourites nor ministers, 
threats nor prayers. 

The sense of duty has been highly developed in 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 63 

him, thanks to the careful training he received at 
the hands of Queen Maria Cristina, and his sense 
of moral obligation is absolute. 

The general idea of the King is to encourage the 
industrial and economic development of the coun- 
try, at the same time he is upholding the state, and 
to strengthen at every point the bulwarks of the 
state until its whole fibre is of the strongest char- 
acter. Commercial development without a thor- 
oughly grounded state, he believes to be worthless. 

Don Alfonso XIII believes in Spain. He glo- 
ries in her proud past and he has the conviction 
that greater glories and prosperity are still await- 
ing her. It is toward her greater future that he is 
ever looking, and with that greater future in view, 
so he is building. He wants the world to know 
Spain. He wants tourists from every country to 
come and see her natural beauties, her resources 
and her possibilities. To stimulate interest abroad 
he is now giving special attention to the seemingly 
trivial, but after all most important matter, namely, 
better roads throughout the Kingdom and im- 
proved hotels. Till now, many of the roads of 
Spain are utterly wretched. When Spain can vie 
with France in her road beds, the Sovereign be- 
lieves that many more tourists will come, espe- 
cially in view of the increasing use of automobiles. 
And having come to the country he wants people 
made comfortable. 

There are, at this time, but few first-class 
hotels in Spain. There is one at Granada, 

64 Royal Romances of To-day 

built by the Duke of San Pedro, and others 
at Algiciras and Ronda. The hotels of Mad- 
rid are all rather bad and excessively expen- 
sive. The prices are paramount to the best 
hotels of London and Paris and the rooms are 
small, poorly equipped and in general com- 
fort are decidedly lacking. The King mani- 
fested his interest to the extent of asking me many 
minute details about the hotel where I was lodged, 
the size of my room, number of windows, was there 
running water (which there was not), the kind of 
bed, etc., etc. He knew quite well, however, the 
actual conditions before he asked the questions. 
A new Ritz-Carlton was therefore built in Madrid 
through the personal interest and influence of the 
King, and it is the aim of His Majesty to make 
this the first of a chain of good hotels all over 
Spain. This practical interest in details of this 
character indicates that he is no mere dreamer of 
empires, no idealist who lives in the future be- 
cause he is looking forward. Like all strong men 
of history, King Alfonso is a practical idealist who 
gives heed to each step of the road he is travelling, 
conscious that on the work of to-day the work of 
to-morrow must stand. 

History will ultimately place him, but at twenty- 
four he has already taken his place among the 
signal figures of his time and his promise for the 
future is immeasurable. 

An estimate of King Alfonso's statecraft at so 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 65 

early a period is not possible. But there is great 
promise in the young sovereign. Don Alfonso 
does everything that he undertakes. It is a bred- 
in-the-bone characteristic with him to excel in all 

King Alfonso, like King George in England, is 
one of the best shots in his kingdom. This, at 
least, is a matter of merit, and cannot be said as a 
courtesy to the King. This year, King Alfonso 
came out second best at the annual pigeon shoot, 
having taken nineteen birds out of twenty-one. The 
high record was twenty-one out of twenty-three. 
Previous years, the King has captured the first 

The English Princess who became a Spanish 
Queen, therefore, came to a land of extraordinary 
activity. Spain's development is proceeding with 
greater rapidity than in any other country in Eu- 
rope during the present decade. King Alfonso is 
the most wideawake, alert, progressive man in 
Spain and he is controlled by a tremendous ambi- 
tion to bring Spain into line with the most modern 
of nations. He is kept well informed as to what 
all parties in his kingdom are doing — what they 
want and why they want it. He is as quick to ac- 
cept a plank from the platform of the Republicans 
or Socialists as from the Liberals or Monarchists. 
By nature, Don Alfonso is a radical. It is by vir- 
tue of his personality and what he has accom- 
plished for Spain that he is the most popular man 

66 Royal Romances of To-day 

in his Kingdom. Republicans to whom I have 
put the question: "If a Republic were declared in 
Spain, who would be the first national leader — the 
first president?" The answer has been "probably 
Don Alfonso. He is the most popular man in the 



One afternoon, shortly after the audience al- 
ready referred to, I was crossing the Plaza de 
Oriente in Madrid, towards the Royal Palace. An 
automobile came whirling up from the Casa de 
Campo and as it passed, a hand waved through 
the window. It was the spontaneous action of a 
man aglow with youth and energy. Just beyond, 
the car stopped, the door opened, and the King 
jumped out. I was so surprised I even forgot to 
throw away the cigar I was smoking. In the 
friendliest and most natural way possible, His 
Majesty shook my hand and told me that at five 
o'clock they were going to play polo for the 
Queen's cup at the Casa de Campo grounds and 
if I cared to go along, to find one of the Palace 
secretaries and tell him to order a carriage for me 
from the royal mews. 

It did not take long to find Don Pablo Chur- 
ruca, who promptly procured the carriage and we 
drove together through the lovely gardens of the 
Royal Park, arranged by the Queen Maria Cris- 
tina, to the polo field. These polo grounds are 
some three or four miles from the Palace, and com- 
mand an imposing panorama of Guadarrama 


68 Royal Romances of To-day 

mountains which, owing to their considerable 
height, are snow-capped until late June. The polo 
field was laid out by the Marquis of Viana, the 
King's bosom friend and his Master of the Horse. 
The Marquis is prouder of this polo field than 
almost anything else in the world, and with reason. 
It is a magnificent greensward, kept in perfect con- 
dition. Here the King comes to play three times 
a week during the stay of the Court in Madrid. 

Don Alfonso looks upon his regular daily exer- 
cise as much as a part of his kingly duties as signing 
documents or reviewing troops. He is the only 
polo-playing sovereign in the world, and in this, as 
in everything else, he is an enthusiast. 

That day, he had a string of seventeen ponies 
in charge of eleven grooms on hand for frequent 
changes. At the royal mews, he has more than 
double this number, most of them at present com- 
ing from the Argentine Republic. 

King Alfonso is at his best in the saddle. He 
rides like a born horseman and nowhere, — not even 
in military uniform, — does he appear to better ad- 
vantage than at polo. His reckless energy and 
boundless spirit are ever to the fore. When he 
starts after the ball, he goes full tilt, showing no 
consideration, asking none. As the riders sweep 
up and down and across the field, the King is ever 
in the thickest of the game, riding hard, driving 
hard and holding his own with the strongest and 
best. During the succeeding weeks I went many 
times to the Polo games. 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 69 

At the close of the game each day, His Majesty 
would walk across the field to ask the few invited 
guests present to join the players for tea which is 
served in a spacious tent erected near to the club 
chalet. The usual players whom I saw there were 
the Duke of Alba, the Marquis of Viana, the Mar- 
quis of Santo Domingo, Count de la Cimera, Count 
de la Maza and Mr. Marshal, an English profes- 
sional. Besides these players there were usually 
three or four other gentlemen and half a dozen 

After the game, the King would come strolling 
across the grounds in his riding togs, a loose coat 
on, but unbuttoned, a grey soft hat carelessly 
balanced on the back of his head. As he ap- 
proached, the gentlemen would uncover as would 
His Majesty, and in turn he would greet each one. 
As he shook hands with the ladies, each in turn 
would do a fascinating curtsey. Then all would 
repair into the tent — and the rest was like after- 
noon tea in any English country house. And in- 
cidentally, English is the language most used by 
all the company. The King and several of the 
players use English almost precisely as their 
mother tongue. 

The fearlessness of Don Alfonso at polo is typi- 
cal of his whole life. He is a fatalist. His spirit 
is as much endless courage as an absolute lack of 
the knowledge of fear. I doubt if he has any con- 
ception of the nature or quality of that emotion. 

Now that the lamented King Edward is gone, 

70 Royal Romances of To-day 

it will perhaps be no indiscretion to make public 
an incident in connection with King Alfonso's go- 
ing to Barcelona when that city was believed to be 
on the eve of a revolution. "I am needed there," 
said Don Alfonso. Despite the entreaties of the 
entire court, he planned to go. Just before the 
day he was to start from the capital, King Edward 
summoned one of the Spanish Embassy in London. 
He said that he had not slept the entire night 
through worry about King Alfonso's going to Bar- 
celona. He begged that a message be immediately 
sent to Madrid beseeching Alfonso to abandon the 
trip. Don Alfonso acknowledged the message. 
But, he proceeded to Barcelona. The results of 
the trip vindicated the young King's wisdom. The 
long and short of it is, King Alfonso is a man, a 
man to be trusted in a tight place. His theory is, 
"If they set out to kill me, they will get me any- 
way, so in the meantime, why bother my head 
about it?" This allegiance to duty is with him a 
passion, a veritable religion in the highest sense. 

Take the regular routine of the King's day. He 
rises early — from seven to seven-thirty ;some morn- 
ings when he reviews troops, he leaves the Palace 
at six. He is occupied with his correspondence 
and state papers until ten when he receives the 
Prime Minister and one other minister. The 
Premier reports every morning and the other mem- 
bers of the Council are received every day in turn. 
Then come the regular audiences which occupy 
him until one-thirty or two, when he takes lunch- 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 71 

eon. In the afternoon, he does whatever chores 
may come up, — the opening of a bazaar or exhibi- 
tion, or any of the endless calls which are made 
upon the sovereign. At four, he has tea with the 
Queen and then goes to polo or pigeon shooting 
or takes his regular exercise, whatever it may be 
for the day. Upon his return, there are sometimes 
further audiences, and always before dressing for 
dinner, he peruses the day's cuttings from the news- 
papers of the world. Forty-six daily newspapers 
come regularly to the Palace. Each afternoon, the 
King's private secretaries (there are five of them 
in all, appointed from the diplomatic corps) 
glean from these every item of news likely to be of 
interest to the sovereign. Nothing is skipped, 
criticism and unkindly comment go in with all the 
rest. These clippings are pasted on sheets of 
paper which are bound together with a red and 
yellow cord and left on His Majesty's table. 

At eight-thirty he dines. Week day evenings, 
the King goes to whatever social functions he has 
to attend. King Alfonso appreciates his social 
duties as a sovereign quite as much as his duties of 

Coming down the main stairway of a house in 
Madrid after a dance at five o'clock in the morn- 
ing once he met one of his secretaries. "You 
lucky beggar," he exclaimed, "you need not get 
out of your bed before three in the afternoon, 
while I must be up to receive my ministers as 
usual!" One of the great reasons for the popular- 

72 Royal Romances of To-day 

ity of King Alfonso is his attention to social af- 
fairs. He enters into these functions with the same 
zest that he does everything else and he is seldom 
accused of putting a damper on an occasion by 
leaving too early. 

The great fact concerning Don Alfonso that ap- 
peals to me is his extreme humanness. He is ever 
and always on the spot. In his movements, he is 
as quick as lightning and his mind is extraordi- 
narily alert. Disciplined to the very highest pitch 
of efficiency, he is an all round able man, and 
would be so considered in any walk of life. He is 
never too busy to attend to the last, smallest detail 
concerning any matter in his Kingdom. 

One day he said to me, "Anything that you want 
in Spain, or about Spain, don't go anywhere else 
— let me know directly." 

Whether he is presiding over his Council of 
Ministers or amiably and gracefully performing 
some ceremony incident to the duties of sovereignty 
or receiving in audience, or playing polo with 
his own chosen companions, or driving his great 70 
h.p. car across country at reckless speed, or taking 
tea with the Queen, he is always at once the same 
blithe spirit, the spontaneous youth and the earnest 
man of affairs. In uniform, he looks a born 
soldier. At polo, he appears like a man who lives 
for sport. In ordinary attire, he is the dapper 
young blood of any capital city, sleek, well- 
groomed, immaculate. His face is as elusive as a 
kaleidoscope, changing each second. Smiles and 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 73 

laughter play around his mouth and eyes but un- 
derneath the surface one instinctively feels the in- 
tense, thoughtful nature of an inspired leader of 

These glimpses of the man — Alfonso, — his char- 
acter, temperament and personality, may enable 
us to picture the environment of the English Prin- 
cess, whose early life was spent in the tranquil at- 
mosphere of the Isle of Wight and the favourite 
Scottish home of Queen Victoria of England. 
From the moment of her entrance into Spain, she 
has lived amid strenuous scenes, and in an atmos- 
phere as different from her native land as any- 
thing could be. Yet she has risen to it all like the 
born Queen she is. That the lurking dangers 
which so often apprise her royal spouse, sorely 
try her spirit and sometimes wear her nerves 
is not to be wondered at. That she exercises 
the control she does is the cause of our admira- 

Not since the year 1170 had an English Queen 
been called to the throne of Spain. In that year, 
Alfonso VIII, wooed and won the English Elea- 
nor, who, as Queen, distinguished herself as a pat- 
roness of scholarship and learning, largely support- 
ing by contribution, the University of Palencia. 
It is the belief and hope of Spain, that Queen Vic- 
toria will carry into Spain English traditions along 
this line and during the years of her reign materi- 
ally raise the educational standard of the whole 
people. Certain it is that any work which she at- 

74 Royal Romances of To-day 

tempts will be heartily encouraged by her royal 

Queenship carries with it myriad duties, — not 
merely the duties of sovereign, official or political 
as the case may be, but first and foremost, the 
duties of motherhood, the duties of bearing and 
rearing kings and queens to be. For this high 
office, Queen Victoria was soon to demonstrate her 
aptitude and the best part of her romance lies in 
the story of the royal princes of Spain which have 
blessed the marriage during the first four years. 



One year to a month after the Royal marriage 
Spain's happiness and satisfaction in the new Queen 
were made complete by the birth of an heir to the 
throne. The official title of the newcomer, as heir 
apparent, is Prince of Asturias, and as such he is 
always spoken of, but in addition, he has a string 
of names almost as long as his Royal father's string 
of polo ponies. He is now three years of age and 
accomplished in many things, but he cannot yet re- 
peat his full name! Indeed, it seems probable that 
he will be considerably older before he can memo- 
rise them all in proper sequence. Fancy this wee 
boy learning to write: Alfonso Pius Christian Ed- 
ward Francis William Charles Henry Eugene Fer- 
dinand Anthony Venancio, Prince of Asturias, 
heir to the thrones of Spain, Castile, Leon, Aragon, 
the Two Sicillies, Jerusalem, Navarre, Granada, 
Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Majolica, Minorca, 
Seville, Sardinia, Cordova, Corsica, Murcie, Jean, 
Algarne, Algeciras, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, 
the Oriental and Occidental Indies; Archdukedom 
of Austria, dukedoms of Burgundy, Brabant and 
Milan; Count of Hapsburg, Flanders, the Tyrol 
and Barcelona; Seigneur of Biscay and Molina! 


j6 Royal Romances of To-day 

This is official. Doubters may turn to the alma- 
nach de Gotha, page 34, and read in verification. 

The joy not only of the Royal Family but of the 
whole Spanish people may be conceived at the birth 
of this child, for this is the first son born to a reign- 
ing King in Spain in four generations. 

With these numerous names and appendages it 
is not surprising to find Queen Victoria's first born 
ushered into the world with considerable cere- 

In olden days changeling children were some- 
times foisted upon a nation, and in certain histori- 
cal instances such imposed children have succeeded 
to thrones and held sway while the camarilla which 
perpetrated the trick have fattened and grown rich. 
To thwart these daring humbugs laws were en- 
acted in many countries to the effect that the birth 
of a Royal child, especially an heir, must be in the 
presence of a certain number of responsible digni- 
taries of the Court. Spain still technically holds 
that the Prime Minister must be present, and ac- 
cording to tradition all of the ministers, grandees 
and foreign ambassadors and ministers present in 
the city shall be summoned to the Palace. The 
King then marches through the room into which 
these numerous privileged ones have been gathered 
bearing the Royal child on a silver salver. 

The exuberant happiness of King Alfonso may 
be surmised from the report of all present on the 
memorable occasion that as the proud father passed 
through the chamber, his face transformed into 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 77 

one great smile, he could only say: "He weighs 
four kilos! He weighs four kilos!" 

One week later the baby Prince was baptised in 
the chapel of the Royal Palace, the Bishop of 
Toledo, Primate of Spain, officiating. Be it said 
that his serene Highness was quite on his dignity 
on this his first public appearance. Only once did 
he jeopardise the quiet of the solemn occasion and 
that at the font when he made known his presence 
by one long, loud baby shriek — which afforded as 
much amusement to his father the King, as it did 
embarrassment to the most reverend Prelate. 

This ceremony was in ample keeping with all 
the traditions of this most ceremonious of courts. 
Vienna and St. Petersburg alone of all the capitals 
of Europe are more punctilious than Madrid in the 
observance of traditional functions. For Madrid 
and the Spanish Court be it said, however, that 
these ceremonies are observed in an amiable and 
happy fashion which is possible only in a country 
where grace and charm and warmth of nature are 
characteristic of the temper and temperament of 
the people. 

On this occasion the chapel in the Royal Palace 
in Madrid was occupied to its utmost capacity, 
chiefly by the grandees of Spain, visiting royalties, 
and the ambassadors and ministers of foreign 

The wonderful tapestries which are one of the 
proudest art possessions of Spain and which are 
only displayed on very special occasions were 

78 Royal Romances of To-day 

brought out to line the walls, while the Halberdier 
Guards who lined the aisles added colour to the 
setting. The ladies present all wore mantillas 
while the men were in full uniform or evening 
dress. The Christening procession was one of 
glittering and imposing magnificence. 

First came the mace-bearers followed by the 
ushers in double file, then two long lines of Cham- 
berlains in gold-laced coats and white silk stock- 
ings, after them the grandees of Spain in their 
striking military uniforms and feathered cocked 
hats. Then came seven specially picked grandees 
carrying seven salvers on which were such requi- 
sites for the holy ceremony as a salt-cellar, a gold 
basin and ewer, a cut lemon, a lace towel, a cape, 
and a large cake. Behind this party came the 
royal Prince himself, ensconced in rare and beauti- 
ful laces. His fair little uncovered head and tiny 
face, and his clenched fists were the admiration of 
all beholders. He was in the arms of the Mar- 
quesa de los Llanos, who is the chief of his retinue, 
and on one side walked the Papal Nuncio, who is 
the representative of His Holiness, the Pope, as 
godfather, and on the other was the Queen-mother, 
as the godmother. The King strode behind. The 
Infantes and Infantas followed, with their suites. 
The Infanta Maria Teresa, sister of the King, and 
her husband, Infante Fernando, being only con- 
valescent from measles, were unable to be present. 
Don Carlos, the widowed husband of the King's 
late sister, the Infanta Mercedes, led little Prince 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 79 

Alfonso, who was known as the heir to the throne 
until the birth of his little cousin. 

The little sister of the ex-heir was led by the 
hand by the Infanta Isabel, at whose side walked 
Princess Henry of Battenberg, beautifully robed 
in grey velvet and ermine. Prince Arthur of Con- 
naught, with Captain Wyndham and the Princes 
from Russia and Germany, and other Royal repre- 
sentatives, all had their places in the procession. 
China was also represented. The personal staff 
of the King was conspicuous, and the halberdier 
band of music marshalled the glittering throng to 
the chapel. 

The altar was decorated with white flowers. 
The historic font in which the members of the 
Royal Family have for centuries been baptised was 
in the centre of the chapel. 

Thirty-six Bishops and four Cardinals officiated. 
The Royal child was carried in the arms of his 
grandmother, the Dowager Queen Maria Cristina. 
The water sprinkled on his brow was from the 
River Jordan. The christening ceremony over, 
the King decorated his infant son with the Order 
of the Golden Fleece, the Order of Isabella the 
Catholic, and the Collar of Charles III. All the 
ladies of the Court were in full dress. 

The little Prince thrived as a baby, and he was 
a sturdy chap of almost three when I went to Spain 
to write this story. In Madrid, I found him al- 
ready a feature of the capital. Each day, when it 
was nearing the time for him and his little brother 

80 Royal Romances of To-day 

and sister (who have since arrived) to go for their 
afternoon drive, a great crowd would collect be- 
fore the Palace gates to catch a fleeting glimpse 
of him who will (D. V.) one day reign over them. 

On his first birthday, the Prince of Asturias was 
formally enrolled as a member of one of the crack 
royal regiments in his father's kingdom. The 
regimental register for that day describes the new 
recruit as "resident in the province of Madrid: 
age one year; and a bachelor!" It was the day 
before his third birthday that I first saw him. He 
had profited by his military connection during 
these two years, for he had learned to salute as 
properly as any soldier, to wear a uniform, and to 
play with soldier toys. Incidentally, he was still 
a bachelor. 

This early martial association is a custom com- 
mon to kings and princes. Not infrequently, heirs 
apparent are made honorary commanders of regi- 
ments before they reach the age of five, and all 
through boyhood a military uniform is the favour- 
ite costume of many of them. King Alfonso nearly 
always wore a military uniform during his child- 
hood and youth — but Don Alfonso has never been 
other than a King. A nation was already his at 
birth, an army, a navy and more palaces than he 
could ever know what to do with. 

From the day the Prince of Asturias became a 
member of his regiment, a bed was set aside and 
will always be reserved for him in the regimental 
barracks, and the regulation plate, mug and spoon 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 81 

of his equipment kept ready for his use. An in- 
cident of that memorable first birthday of the little 
Prince which must have bored the young man in- 
tensely was the reading to him of the penal laws 
in order that thereafter he might not be able to 
justify any infraction of discipline by maintaining 
his ignorance of these laws. The papers which he 
was obliged to sign were marked with an "X" sig- 
nifying "The Prince of Asturias, his mark." 

One day, when I was in the Palace in Madrid, 
the little Prince was discovered in one of the cham- 
bers of the private apartments, playing with the 
sword of one of his father's aides. My companion 
looked at the little fellow and the sword which was 
bigger than he, and said: "What does your Royal 
Highness propose to do with that sword?" The 
Prince paused in his play and after a moment's 
hesitation replied: "Have no fear, no harm shall 
come to you!" 

That afternoon, His Royal Highness (as he is 
addressed at Court) went riding. His horseback 
lessons began when he was a little more than two 
and one-half years old. If he does not prove the 
best horseman in his kingdom, as is his father to- 
day, it will not be for lack of early training. 

The Crown Prince has one remarkable faculty 
which is already phenomenally developed, and 
which is bound to prove of enormous value to him 
in the future. That is an exceptional memory for 
faces — and names. He knows perfectly well every 
face about the palace, and certain members of the 

82 Royal Romances of To-day 

court whom he sees but seldom he remembers as 
readily as those he sees every day. For many of 
the intimates of the household he has his favourite 
nicknames, usually established by his Royal High- 
ness when the proper names are too long or too 
difficult for his baby mouth. The Royal Gov- 
erness is the Marquesa Maria de Salamanca. This 
is rather sonorous for the Prince so he always calls 
her "Mia-manca," a natural contraction of the two 
names. This trait is one that was very pronounced 
in his father when he was a child. Many anec- 
dotes are still current of the embarrassment the 
baby King Alfonso would frequently cause his 
nurses and governesses and even his mother, the 
Queen Regent Maria Cristina, by the curious and 
quaint names he would dub various courtiers and 
grandees who were frequently staid and dignified 
old gentlemen. 

There is something unmistakably regal in the 
manner and bearing of the Prince of Asturias. He 
seems to have a full realisation of who he is, and of 
his own importance. This spirit is naturally fos- 
tered by his environment. Officers and soldiers 
everywhere salute him, while courtiers and popu- 
lace uncover when he approaches. Being the re- 
cipient of universal obeisance almost from his 
cradle accustoms him to continual homage and he 
comes to expect it from everyone. 

The coachman Corral who drives the big mules 
to the nursery coach is a prime favourite with the 
princes. One day, just as they were about to go 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 83 

for their afternoon drive the Prince of Asturias 
went to the King and asked for a cigar. The King 
was greatly surprised at the request, coming from 
the Prince who was then not much over two, but 
he gave the young man a cigar and watched with 
much curiosity what he would do with it. The 
cigar was carefully carried throughout the drive 
and on the return to the Palace the Prince handed 
it to the coachman. Since then he frequently 
brings a cigar with him for the coachman, but if 
for any reason he becomes displeased with the 
coachman over something during the drive he car- 
ries it back upstairs for another day when the 
coachman is better behaved! 

The Prince of Asturias has his mother's fondness 
for sweet chocolate, and Her Majesty keeps a sup- 
ply always at hand to reward the princes for good 
behaviour, and every day after luncheon they each 
get a piece anyway. 

The Queen was taken ill during the week that 
the King was in London attending the funeral of 
King Edward. The Prince of Asturias seemed 
considerably worried when he learned that his 
mother would not be down for luncheon. The 
Queen Mother, Maria Cristina, who lives in the 
Royal Palace, noticed the anxious look on the face 
of her grandson and inquired what was the trouble. 

"I am thinking," he replied, "that if mother is 
ill and father is in London — who will give us 
chocolate to-day after lunch?" 

One afternoon the Prince of Asturias was 

84 Royal Romances of To-day 

naughty. In the Casa de Campo he had been very 
cross, and had been reprimanded. That night at 
supper-time when the dessert was placed before 
him he said : "To-day I was naughty. I do not de- 
serve these sweets. Dessert is not for naughty chil- 
dren. But before I was naughty; now I am good. 
Now I deserve my sweets, so I shall take this des- 

This self-depreciation as well as appreciation is 
one of his characteristics. He is as quick to ad- 
mit his own disapproval of himself, as he is to 
insist on approval at other times. 

One day when His Majesty was going to a 
pigeon shoot just outside of Madrid he took the 
Prince of Asturias along in the automobile. The 
little Prince was greatly pleased at this and very 
proud. During the next several days he went 
about the Palace telling everybody how pleased he 
had been with the excursion. 

Travelling also delights the little man. He has 
from his earliest months been interested in railroad 
trains and the journeys to Seville in the winter 
time, to La Granja in the spring, and to San Se- 
bastian in the summer are great, treats to the nur- 

When the Prince of Asturias was about a year 
old the Royal Family moved to La Granja. One 
afternoon the Queen was walking in the gardens 
with one of her ladies-in-waiting when it occurred 
to her that she would like to go outside of the 
Palace grounds for a stroll down one of the country 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 85 

lanes. So without any other escort than her one 
lady companion she started out. Presently they 
met an old peasant woman trudging toward them 
carrying a basket. As she came nearer she recog- 
nised the Queen and moved toward her. The 
lady-in-waiting, not understanding the motive of 
the peasant woman, quickly stepped in between her 
and the Queen, but the Queen at once said, "No — 
let her speak. She has something she wants to say 
to me." The woman then told the Queen that in 
the basket she carried a litter of baby rabbits and 
they were so pretty and cunning that she thought 
the little Prince would like them — and would Her 
Majesty not send them to the Prince. The Queen 
peeped into the basket and was so delighted with 
the wee warm bunnies that she told the woman to 
bring them herself to the Prince, and to the aston- 
ishment of the lady-in-waiting and the unbounded 
joy of the peasant woman the Queen led the way 
back to the Palace and up to the nursery where the 
Prince duly received the bunnies and was highly 
pleased with them. 

At another time, in Seville, a litter of rabbits 
was presented to the Prince of Asturias. This 
time the rabbits were bigger and lively. Some- 
one left the cover off the basket and the rabbits all 
jumped out and ran off through the Palace, af- 
fording the Prince much amusement, but creating 
no end of trouble for the nurses who had to catch 



THERE is a striking contrast between the two 
princes. The Prince of Asturias is absolutely fair 
with flaxen hair, while Don Jaime is as dark as a 
typical Spaniard. Even at the age of two, his hair 
is dark and his eyes are as lustrously brown as his 

All three of the children are learning to speak 
English, Spanish and French, with equal fluency. 
They have between them two English nursery gov- 
ernesses and one French maid in addition to a usual 
number of Spanish maids and other servants. 
Their mother, the Queen, was brought up familiar 
with French and German, in addition to her own 
English, while King Alfonso was taught English, 
French and German from his boyhood. It is ex- 
pected that a modern king be able to talk and 
think in two or three languages, but it is ex- 
ceptional to find a crown prince of three who can 
already express himself in three tongues. 

When speaking to his mother, the Queen, the 
little Prince invariably uses English, but with his 
father, the King, he uses Spanish. He seems to 
know instinctively one tongue from the other. If 
he is handed something — for example, a box — he 


Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 87 

will take it and pronounce the word in English 
and Spanish and sometimes in French also. In 
that way he seems to instinctively teach himself the 
three languages simultaneously. 

The two Princes are naturally constant play- 
mates. In the Casa de Campo where they are 
taken every morning at half-past ten they play in 
the sand together and stand up their little toy 
soldiers. As I had the privilege of playing here 
with them one morning I shall have more to say of 
this later. The Crown Prince usually refers to 
his brother as "my brother, the Infante," never as 
Don Jaime or Jaime, although occasionally he 
lapses into English and calls him "Jimmy." 

The Princes are very fond of each other, but like 
all children they have their quarrels now and again. 
The Crown Prince has a good deal of a will of his 
own and sometimes his nurses find him something 
more than a handful. One morning he rushed 
up to the Royal Governess and said: "My brother 
the Infante has been very naughty, very naughty, so 
I kicked him and he cried. But now he is no 
longer naughty so I shall run and kiss him," where- 
upon he rushed off to the playroom in the chalet 
where he found Don Jaime and tenderly kissed 

Don Jaime has one of the sweetest baby faces I 
have ever seen. He has inherited his father's soft, 
beautiful eyes and winning smile. His nature is 
said to be as lovely as his smile. He is a great 
favourite in the Royal Household and already is 

88 Royal Romances of To-day 

manifesting unusual signs of keenness and intelli- 

Curiously enough, the newspapers of Europe in- 
cluding England, and also of America, have from 
time to time printed stories to the effect that these 
two Princes are deaf and dumb and otherwise de- 
fective. These rumours are all baseless slanders:* 
The King's secretary has been put to great trouble 
writing to inform people all over the world that 
there is no truth in these stories. On one occasion 
the Prime Minister found it necessary to issue a 
public signed statement to the effect that he had 
personally talked with the Princes and that he knew 
them to be mentally and physically fit and normal. 
As a matter of fact, I found them both unusually 
sturdy boys with exceptional intelligence for their 

In this connection I had a striking experience of 
the way these stories are circulated. The second 
or third day after I arrived in Madrid the head 
porter at my hotel said to me: "So you are the 
American physician?" 

"What American physician?" I asked in sur- 

"The doctor who has been brought from New 
York to attend the Crown Prince." 

"No," I replied, "I am not a doctor. How did 
you come to think that I was?" 

He thereupon explained that shortly after my 
arrival in Madrid the King's private secretary had 
called for me at my hotel and that directly after I 

<U>" *<**~> 

jy A ' Svuwvj^&f' 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 89 

had been seen entering the Royal Palace. This 
aroused some curiosity among the hotel people and 
finally someone concluded that as I wore a Van- 
dyke beard I must be a physician, and as I had 
gone to the Palace I had undoubtedly gone to ex- 
amine the Princes who were said to be deaf and 
dumb ! This absurd tale circulated about the capi- 
tal and as it went from mouth to mouth details 
were added, and that which at first was character- 
ised as probable and circumstantial became abso- 
lutely definite. 

It is really cruel to spread such nonsensical stor- 
ies about two such bright boys as the Prince of As- 
turias and Don Jaime. 

Both the Prince of Asturias and Don Jaime are 
devoted to horses and all the trappings of the 
stables. They are also very fond of cats. There 
is one big nursery cat which is an especial favour- 
ite. So far they have not taken much interest in 
dogs, and in fact there isn't even one dog about the 
Royal Palace in Madrid. Formerly the King had 
many dogs, but now very few and these are kept 
in the country. The Queen had a dog which was 
presented to her by her uncle, the late King Ed- 
ward of England, but one day at La Granja the 
dog strayed away — as the best of dogs sometimes 
will, even when their masters are sovereigns and 
their abode a royal palace. 

The palace of the Alcazar in Seville is a fa- 
vourite residence with the Princess just as it is with 
the Queen. The gardens of this old Moorish pal- 

90 Royal Romances of To-day 

ace are very delightful and here the Royal chil- 
dren love to play just as their father did when he 
was a boy. Down one of the walks is a series of 
tiny holes. Ordinarily no one would even see 
them. It was a favourite prank of the little Don 
Alfonso to send some unsuspecting person along 
this walk while he loitered in the rear; suddenly he 
would turn a hidden wheel and instantly a fine 
stream of water would shoot up through each of 
these squirt holes, to the astonishment and often- 
times consternation of the victim of the Royal 

There is a maze of boxwood in these gardens 
which affords the children endless amusement. A 
stranger once entering this maze gets completely 
entangled and bewildered. It takes even an adult 
some time to discover the path leading out. Here, 
too, are several small ponds stocked with gold fish 
and every day the Princes visit the ponds to feed 
the fish. 

The Prince of Asturias is especially fond of play- 
ing in sand, and on his third birthday the Queen 
bought for him a set of sand pails and little shovels 
which pleased him tremendously. 

One day I was in the nursery playroom at the 
Alcazar and I took occasion to examine the toys of 
the Royal children. What was my surprise to find 
a great assortment of little tin mechanical toys such 
as one sees exhibited all along Fourteenth street 
or Twenty-third street — toys that cost about ten 
cents each. The things that are wound up with a 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 91 

key and then rush about in circles. There were 
boxing men, and little go-carts drawn by monkeys 
and donkeys and a great assortment of similar de- 

Of course, they have many grand toys, gifts from 
sovereigns, potentates and ambassadors, but so far 
neither of the Princes has exhibited any particular 
predilection for these expensive toys. The simple 
ten-cent things afford them as much pleasure as 

The favourite toy of the Crown Prince for a 
long time was a doll dressed as a soldier. The one 
positive passion that this little fellow has as yet re- 
vealed is soldiering. To most children, soldiering 
is the most fascinating thing in the world. But to 
the Prince of Asturias, soldiers are almost an obses- 
sion. The sound of bugles and drums excites him 
tremendously and he never wearies of watching 
troops at drill or on parade. The guard mount at 
the Royal Palace in Madrid takes place every 
morning at eleven o'clock, and is considerable of a 
ceremony, many troops being employed and repre- 
senting several branches of the army — infantry, 
cavalry and field artillery, while two bands are 
constantly playing. The Prince's room in the 
Palace looks out upon the esplanade where this 
takes place, and never a day does he fail to watch 
this when he is in the Palace. This is another 
trait inherited from his father. 

Another remarkable evidence of more than or- 
dinary brightness in the Prince of Asturias in his 

92 Royal Romances of To-day 

familiarity with the different uniforms. He 
knows them all and rarely makes an error. Even 
from his window looking down into the street, he 
can distinguish an artillery uniform from the in- 
fantry, — a lancer from a halberdier. 

Queen Victoria Eugenie is one of the most de- 
voted of mothers. As it has been the policy in 
Spain for queens-consort to hold aloof from poli- 
tics, she has been able to devote more of her time 
than would ordinarily be the case to her children, 
without at the same time neglecting other duties 
of queenship. 

She is devoted to each of them alike, with a pos- 
sible special fondness for the Infanta Beatrice. But 
the Infanta is only one year old and as she is the 
baby as well as the one daughter, this slight pref- 
erence is understandable. 

The Princes get up every morning at half-past 
seven. After their bath they repair at once to the 
Queen's room and remain for an hour or more. 
Thus is every day started. 

Every bright morning when the Royal Family 
is in residence at Madrid all three children are 
taken to the Casa de Campo to play, at half-past 
ten. When they tire of their play they drive a 
little, and the Prince of Asturias takes his morning 
ride on his pony "Belaye," and then they go to 
the pretty little chalet which has been built for 
them in the park and enjoy a nap before luncheon. 
The Prince is keen to hear stories — especially sto- 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 93 

ries about soldiers. They must be invented stories, 
however, and each morning the governess or one 
of the nurses is implored to tell a story. Generally 
he drops off to sleep before the story is finished, 
which is what he likes. At bedtime the Queen 
generally tells him a story until he falls asleep. 

One Monday morning in one of the rooms of the 
private apartments in the Royal Palace at Madrid 
I noticed a suspended sheet. There were a group 
of chairs in front and obviously the sheet had been 
used as a screen for lantern pictures. Upon in- 
quiry I was told that every Sunday evening the 
King and Queen and all the Royal Family dine 
together informally — en famille as it were — and 
after the meal they all adjourn to the adjoining 
room for a biograph exhibition. These Sunday 
evening suppers and entertainments constitute one 
of the most charming features of the Spanish court 

The children of the Spanish Royal Family are 
especially fortunate in having parents who are 
above all things human — vibrant with youth, in- 
dulgent with the pranks and pleasantries of child- 
hood. It is not so long since King Alfonso him- 
self was a mischievous lad, and Queen Victoria 
Eugenie a capricious girl. According to all re- 
ports, the boy Alfonso was quite as full of spirit 
and mischief as the average small boy anywhere 
in the world. 

King Alfonso even now has not outgrown this 

94 Royal Romances of To-day 

love for fun. The first Shrove Tuesday that 
Queen Victoria was in Spain she was made the 
victim of a joke by her Royal spouse and his sister, 
the Infanta Maria Teresa. As Her Majesty was 
passing through one of the corridors of the Palace 
the King and the Infanta suddenly sprang out upon 
her, disguised behind masks, giving her a consider- 
able start. This is the survival of an ancient cus- 
tom in Spain peculiar to this particular day. This 
boyishness is constantly cropping out, often to the 
amusement of the court. There can be no doubt 
that when the little Princes are old enough to in- 
dulge in practical jokes that they will find their 
Royal father and mother the most sympathetic of 

I had seen the Royal children a good many times 
during my stay in Spain, but I had had no oppor- 
tunity for close observation of them. I wanted to 
see them at play, and to take some snap-shots of 
them with my own camera. None of my friends 
at court quite knew how to obtain this privilege for 
me. The request was without precedent, as the 
Princes have not yet reached the age of holding 
audiences. So I spoke to His Majesty the King 
about it. I broached the matter delicately, but 
without the slightest hesitation the King replied: 
"Most certainly you may meet them. In the Pal- 
ace if you like, but they are so little I am afraid 
they would be shy and quiet. The best thing 
would be for you to go to the Casa de Campo one 
morning and play with them. There you may also 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 95 

have your camera and take as many snap-shots as 
you like. And if the pictures are good," he con- 
tinued, "you will let me show them to Her Maj- 
esty the Queen who is always much interested in 
all photographs of the Princes." 



I THANKED His Majesty warmly for this unusual 
courtesy, and the second morning after Senor de 
Torres called for me at my hotel just before ten 
o'clock and we drove together to the Reserve in 
the Casa de Campo. The Marquesa de Sala- 
manca, who is the First Royal Governess, passed 
us in an automobile near the entrance. The Mar- 
quesa de Puerta, who is the Second Governess, was 
not there that morning. We arrived a brief mo- 
ment behind the nursery. The Princes and their 
nursemaids were still in the mule coach driven by 
Corral, the favourite nursery coachman. Behind 
was the little open carriage drawn by the two don- 
keys "Sol" and "Luna," and the tiny Shetland 
pony, "Belaye," of the Crown Prince. 

As we approached, the Marquesa de Salamanca 
lifted the Prince of Asturias from the carriage and 
brought him in her arms toward us, presenting him 
as the Little Crown Prince. Anticipating her, 
however, the little fellow cried out: "Kaulak — 
Kaulak, is coming." Now, Kaulak is a Madrid 
photographer who takes most of the photographs 
of the Royal family and the Prince had noticed the 
cameras in my hand. The Marquesa told him, as 

9 6 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 97 

she put him down at our feet, that I was not 
Kaulak, though I had cameras and could take his 
picture. He surveyed me critically for a moment 
and then came and posed himself before me with 
his little right hand at salute, asking that I first 
take him that way. He wore the same broad- 
brimmed white straw hat encircled by a pale blue 
ribbon and the cunning little white flannel suit in 
which I had first seen him going out to drive. He 
tried valiantly to wrestle with my name but this 
proved too much of a mouthful. 

The two English governesses and the French 
maid gathered the children's toys from the coach 
and we started for a stream of water where the 
children wanted to play. As we started the In- 
fante Don Jaime was brought over. He is a dear 
boy with a wonderfully sweet and friendly smile. 
It was evident from the first moment that he, at 
least, had no intention of standing on ceremony. 
The wee Infanta Beatrice was too sleepy to pay 
much attention, so she was put to rest in an ordinary 
baby carriage and was soon trundled fast asleep. 

The Prince of Asturias first took up the sand 
pail and shovel that had recently been given him 
by his mother the Queen for his third birthday. 
Don Jaime, however, found more interest in the 
water. He splashed the stream for a few minutes 
then toddled off to a spring and began tossing 
stones into the water, laughing with delight at each 
splash. When he had used all of his stones he 
asked me to recover them. This was a task, but 

98 Royal Romances of To-day 

I rolled up my sleeves, and getting down on my 
knees I began to pick them from the bottom one by 
one and arrange them around the spring wall. 
Just as I finished the Prince of Asturias ran up 
and seizing the largest stone of all splashed it vio- 
lently back into the water, wetting me from head to 
foot. This gave them both great pleasure and they 
laughed tremendously. "See," exclaimed the 
Infante, "I have given you a bath!" 

The next moment the Prince decided that my 
dress was incomplete, as I had no flower in my but- 
tonhole. He asked me if I wouldn't like him to 
get me a nice flower. I told His Royal Highness 
that I should be very pleased. So away he went to 
the flower beds. He was critical in his selection. 
A number of flowers were successively rejected. 
Finally he plucked a beautiful white rose and 
bringing it back placed it (with a little assistance) 
in my buttonhole. Don Jaime, in the meantime 
watched his brother with evident interest and de- 
cided that it was his turn to do something toward 
entertaining me. So he went off to the strawberry 
bed and picked some luscious ripe berries to feed 

The morning was unusually dark and gloomy for 
Madrid in June, and I am very much of an ama- 
teur at photography, consequently dependent upon 
bright light. About eleven o'clock the clouds 
lightened somewhat and I got out my cameras. 
Instantly both Princes were interested. The 
Prince of Asturias particularly seemed to enjoy 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 99 

having his picture taken. I snapped him re- 
peatedly and found that he never seemed to weary 
of posing for me. 

The Infanta Beatrice had now waked up, so she 
joined us. Corral, ever attentive and watchful, 
took great delight in catching the eye of the small 
Princess so that her face should be turned toward 
the camera. She showed a silent interest in the 
performance, but her little eyes were still heavy 
with sleep and it was evident that she would much 
have preferred to remain in her perambulator. 
She grew alert, however, when the donkey carriage 
was brought round. She enjoys her rides about 
the gardens, sitting by the side of her brother Don 

Don Jaime climbed into the carriage by himself 
and picked up the whip. The Infanta thought 
that she should hold this and straightway reached 
out her hand to grasp it. The two wrestled back 
and forth until between them they dropped it onto 
the ground. Then there was storm and tears. 

When I looked round the Prince was proudly 
seated on Belaye. Belaye is one of the smallest of 
Shetland ponies, and his saddle precisely like a toy. 
It is not quite a real saddle for it has a seat and 
straps to secure the little rider. But these are the 
first lessons of the Prince in riding. By the time he 
is six he will doubtless mount a real saddle and 
ride just like a little man. 

Besides his Shetland pony he has two little don- 
keys, so tiny that any man could carry one under 

ioo Royal Romances of To-day 

each arm. These are harnessed to a. little cart and 
the young Prince takes his first lessons in driving 
in the beautiful and extensive park behind the 
Royal Palace, known as the Casa de Campo. 
Formerly he had a third donkey called "Astra," 
but Astra died. Sometime after this distressing 
event the Prince was asked about Astra by some- 
one in the Palace, and he made answer with a cer- 
tain manner of mystery, "Oh! he is gone away. 
He is in the Casa de Campo eating strawberries." 

In amusing contrast to these dwarf donkeys are 
four sturdy mules which are attached to the big 
nursery coach in which ride not only the Prince 
of Asturias but also his brother Don Jaime, his 
sister Infanta Beatrice and two of their nurses. 
Beside the carriage, ride two splendidly mounted 
equerries and behind, two Royal grooms. On the 
whole, it is an imposing cavalcade, this nursery 
out a-airing. 

The two Princes — aged three and two re- 
spectively — sit on the main seat. A brace for their 
feet has been adjusted to the carriage and two 
leather belts keep them securely in place. One 
day I was going into the Palace just as the nursery 
was about to start out. The little Prince and the 
Infante were in their seats and the baby Infanta 
was just being brought downstairs. As I passed the 
carriage, I raised my hat to the wee boys, both of 
whom were dressed in white with broad-brimmed 
straw hats. Instantly, two little hands were raised 
to their right temples, elbows out, eyes front — all 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 101 

with military precision. No soldier could have 
given a truer salute. It was so charming, so un- 
expected, that I laughed outright. On later days 
when I saw them out driving, I noticed that each 
time they passed a flag they saluted it, and each 
time an officer or soldier saluted them, the salute 
was returned. 

The morning wore on till noon time when Don 
Jaime grew overpoweringly sleepy, and the Prince 
grew anxious for his morning story — preliminary 
to his noon nap. We drove and rode and picked 
more flowers and threw more stones into the water 
and made more sand piles — and we were all very 
happy. I found them wholesome, hearty children, 
normal in all respects, bright beyond their years, 
and well developed. How the baseless stories con- 
cerning their supposed infirmities and defective- 
ness ever started, is a mystery to me, unless politi- 
cal enemies of the monarchial parties set them in 
circulation with malice aforethought. 

After my morning with them in the Casa de 
Campo some people at my hotel said to me : "What 
a pity that the Princes are not right in their facul- 

"But they are perfectly right," I replied, indul- 
gently, " those stories are pure nonsense." 

"Oh! no, sir. You must be mistaken." 

"How can I be mistaken?" I answered, "I have 
just spent a morning with them and I found them 
not only normal in every way, but particularly in- 

102 Royal Romances of To-day 

"That cannot be," was the reply, "because it is 
said that they are defective." 

I began to grow indignant and finally I gave up 
the controversy. After I had gone they asked one 
another, as I later learned, how much the King 
had paid me to say that the Princes were all right! 
What is one to do with such people? And this is 
characteristic of what is met often in Madrid. 

The Prince of Asturias is to-day one of the love- 
liest of children. Presently he must submit to the 
discipline which will make of him a strong, fear- 
less man fit to lead and rule a nation. If he lives 
he will succeed to the throne of Spain as King 
Alfonso XIV. 

There is no better wish that I may express for 
my readers than that when they come to this beauti- 
ful summer land of Spain, they may have some- 
thing of the same privileges I have enjoyed; that 
they may meet this manly, courageous, wise 
King, Alfonso XIII — face to face, clasp his 
hand in hearty grasp and sit with him in his 
study by the hour listening to his clear-cut, in- 
cisive conversation, enjoying his ideas and ideals, 
all expressed in most excellent English; or go 
with him to the beautiful polo ground and watch 
him play the fastest sort of game, riding his 
beautiful ponies brought over from the Argen- 
tine Republic; that they may meet the beau- 
tiful Queen Victoria Eugenie, the English Prin- 
cess, who is the true heroine of this romance 
and perhaps hear from her own lips the story of 

Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain 103 

the beautiful prophesy of her father, now long 
dead, that one day she should come to Spain and 
be very, very happy. Perchance, indeed, some 
favoured ones may be shown the Spanish fan b^ 
sent her from Seville and which is to-day her most 
treasured possession. Above all, I would wish 
that all might spend a morning such as I spent in 
the Casa de Campo with the little Princes, playing 
in the sand, splashing water and eating strawber- 
ries plucked by these dear, little, Royal hands and 
carry away a pure white rose, selected and plucked 
by him who will one day, God willing, be King 
Alfonso XIV of Spain. 







"The most beautiful Queen on any throne," she 
was called when first she became Empress of all the 
Russias. She still is tall and stately, her hair is 
luxuriant and rich in colour. Eyes that some call 
blue and some call grey look out through long, 
dark lashes, and in them lies a great sadness, an ap- 
pealing wistfulness touched with regret, a silent 
melancholy betraying soul tragedy. Yet as a child 
she was known as "Sunny." 

The life story of "Sunny" has never before been 
comprehensively told in English. This is cu- 
rious, because there probably is not a person 
in the whole world who would not like to 
hear the wonderful romance of how a poor 
little German Princess became a great Sover- 
eign, the co-ruler of one of the vastest empires 
on earth, the mistress of a fabulously rich and be- 
wilderingly extravagant court, and with opportu- 
nity for becoming the most powerful woman in Eu- 
rope. "Sunny" was the childhood nickname of 


108 Royal Romances of To-day 

this little Princess, and after the hardships and 
vicissitudes of a quiet girlhood, where there was a 
constant struggle to maintain appearances, she was 
courted by a wayward gallant who was heir to a 
mighty crown. "Sunny" lost her heart to the Royal 
wooer, and he, putting aside the less noble loves of 
his reckless, youthful days, pledged himself to her 
— persistently courted her against wide opposition 
— turned a deaf ear to the councils of Emperors 
and Queens who tried to discourage the match, 
and after years of battling with diplomatic in- 
trigue and personal restraint he carried his pur- 
pose, married the German Princess who was truly 
the bride of his heart, and in marrying her raised 
her from the obscurity and poverty of her own 
simple home to the exalted rank of Empress. This 
is the true story of Princess Alix of Hesse whom 
Nicholas II made Tsaritsa of Russia! 

There is something tremendously dramatic about 
this little German Princess stepping out of the quiet 
of her Darmstadt home into the arena of world 
affairs, and taking her position as Empress over 
one hundred and forty millions of people. Yet, of 
her life, almost nothing is known by the world at 

No woman of modern times has had such mar- 
vellous opportunities for the exercise of personal 
influence and power. Yet who knows her? I had 
seen her in St. Petersburg, I knew men and women 
of the Court who had told me things about her from 
time to time. But I felt less acquainted with her 
life than that of any sovereign in Europe. I turned 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 109 

to the magazine and newspaper files of the last 
fifteen years and I was amazed at the meagreness 
of information concerning her. I made diligent 
inquiry among people who frequently are veritable 
mines of gossip and stories concerning Royal per- 
sonages, but scarcely a thing could I gather con- 
cerning the Tsaritsa who in many ways occupies 
the most unique position of any woman in the 
world. When I set forth in all seriousness to learn 
of her from her childhood to the present time, to 
gather the details of her charming romance and 
the story how she became the wife of an Emperor, 
I found I must go far afield — overseas, to Ger- 
many, to Russia; I must seek my information from 
her courtiers, her ladies-in-waiting, her friends, 
princes and princesses of the realm, tutors of her 
children, servants in her palaces, officials of the 
Imperial Household. So I went. I talked with 
all these people and many more besides, and the 
story I set down here is the story of her life, as I 
have heard it piecemeal from the lips of those 
who have been closest to her during the years 
that she has occupied a position of world emi- 

The Tsaritsa is now thirty-nine years old. She 
was born at Darmstadt, Germany, June 6, 1872, 
and christened Princess Alix-Victoria-Helene- 
Louise-Beatrix. She was the youngest daughter 
of the Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse and the 
Rhine. Her mother was Princess Alice of Eng- 
land, daughter of Queen Victoria. 

Her sister, Princess Victoria, became the wife 

no Royal Romances of To-day 

of Louis of Battenberg; her sister Elizabeth be- 
came the wife of the Grand Duke Sergius of 
Russia, uncle of the present Tsar; while a third 
sister became Princess Henry of Prussia. Prince 
Henry is the brother of Emperor William of Ger- 
many, and he is the official head of the German 
Navy. The only living brother of these remark- 
able sisters eventually came into the title of Grand 
Duke of Hesse and the Rhine, which he holds to- 
day. Besides all these close connections with im- 
portant Royalties, she was a niece of King Edward 
of England and cousin to innumerable lesser Roy- 
alties. After her marriage she became connected 
with the courts of Denmark and Greece. 

The Dukes of Hesse were made Grand Dukes 
during the time of the Napoleonic wars and Grand 
Dukes they have remained to this day. 

Thus Princess Alix has always had grand con- 
nections, but the duchy of Hesse and the Rhine 
was poor and as the Grand Duke, her father, was 
not even ruler of the Duchy, and possessed of only 
small financial resources, the family household was 
forced to accept a comparatively frugal regime. 
There are hundreds of girls in America to-day who 
have never felt the press of poverty as did Princess 
Alix through the early years of her life. The little 
Princess was taught to sew and to assist in home 
duties, not only because this was all part of the 
proper training of a princess, but because of neces- 

The simplicity of this home was like the sim- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia in 

plicity of an ordinary German or English middle 
class home of to-day. In her letters to Queen Vic- 
toria, the mother of Princess Alix was wont to 
speak very freely of the straitened circumstances 
of the family. Some of the items and incidents 
mentioned in these letters can hardly be credited. 
For instance, in one letter the death of a cow is la- 
mented — "because it will be so difficult to get an- 
other." In another she sends thanks for some fur- 
niture. In another the summer holiday is dis- 
cussed and frank acknowledgment made that they 
cannot afford to go to Sheveningen, the charming 
and fashionable Dutch watering resort a few miles 
from The Hague, because it is too costly, but they 
must be content with Blankenberghe which is tree- 
less, dull and uninteresting, but more reasonable 
of price. 

Princess Alix's allowance of pocket money was 
twenty-five cents a week up to the time of her con- 
firmation, when she received double that amount. 
Alix was the youngest born of the Grand Duke 
and Duchess and was called "Alix" because Queen 
Victoria had always been annoyed at the way Ger- 
mans pronounced Alice. And so at her suggestion 
Alice was changed to Alix to simplify it for the 
people of her own country. "Alicky" she was fre- 
quently called by her mother, but the neighbours 
and friends of the family early came to call her the 
"Little Princess Sonnenschein," and from this came 
the name of endearment which she carried for so 
long — "Sunny." 

ii2 Royal Romances of To-day 

"Baby is a sweet, merry little person, like Ella 
(her sister), but her features are smaller," her 
mother once wrote to Queen Victoria, "and her 
eyes are darker, and she has very long lashes and 
auburn hair. She is always laughing, and with a 
deep dimple in one cheek just like Ernie." (Ernie 
was her brother who is now Grand Duke of Hesse 
and the Rhine.) On another occasion her mother 
wrote: "She is indeed the personification of her 
nickname 'Sunny.' " During all this time Empress 
dreams were far off, and the big world with its 
infinite possibilities, its large joys and burden of 
days, but visions of twilight hours. When she was 
only six years old her mother died. This was the 
first deep shadow of her life, and from that time 
on she carried little responsibilities that tended to 
weigh upon her, to drive her more and more into 
herself, and perhaps to plant the seeds of morose- 
ness which some say is now a quality of her char- 
acter. At twelve the True Romance of her life 
came to her. 

Princess Elizabeth, the older sister of Alix, had 
been courted by Grand Duke Sergius, of Russia, 
an uncle of the present Tsar and brother of the then 
reigning Emperor. In 1884 Sergius came to 
Darmstadt for his bride, and young Nicholas was 
of the Royal party. Nicholas here met Princess 
Alix for the first time and in her saw his future 
bride — the future Empress of his country. Nich- 
olas, though nearly four years older than she, 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 113 

was only sixteen, but sometimes hearts can choose 
their own at sixteen as surely as in later years, and 
if love has since been the dominant element in the 
family life of this royal couple, it entered in, there 
in Darmstadt at this early time. 



FROM the hour of their first meeting, Princess 
Alix never doubted the love of her young Russian 
scion, whose still boyish heart she knew she had 
reached. Child as she was, Princess Alix already 
felt germinating within her beginnings of woman 
love, and from that time through all the follow- 
ing girlhood days, through her period of lovely 
maidenhood, she held in close memory the picture 
of her first wooer. That her young lover was less 
faithful was not so much a matter of surprise, be- 
cause first of all being a man, and especially a 
Russian man, not to include a Prince besides, 
Nicholas naturally went the way of all the rest, 
the way of so many men, of most Russians, and of 
all Princes, and under the tutelage of his relatives, 
the Grand Dukes, and other unavoidable corrupt 
associates of the Court, he sowed his wild oats as 
part of the day's work, and as a matter of course, 
sowed them furiously and very, very wildly. Nich- 
olas' mother, spouse of the Emperor Alexander 
III, herself early suggested that a mistress for the 
young Nicholas might be well as a choice of evils, 
the lesser one. Thereupon, Nicholas was taken to 
the Imperial Ballet, there to make his choice of a 


Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 115 

temporary love. The woman whom he chose at 
that time lives to-day in St. Petersburg, in a grand 
palace, given her by the little man who now rules 
the mighty Empire of Russia, built by money ex- 
acted from thousands of starving peasants through- 
out the length and breadth of the vast empire. 

Perhaps — for a time — Nicholas forgot the little 
German girl, but she never forgot her Prince! 
Perhaps Nicholas was lacking in that blessed qual- 
ity we call "loyalty." Or it may be that he was 
only weak of character as most of his friends of 
the time would have us believe. At all events, he 
was not even true to his Polish dancer, and when 
he became infatuated with a Jewess, his Imperial 
father cried "Enough!" and sent his son on a tour 
around the world. Nicholas was accompanied on 
this trip by another bon vivant, his cousin Prince 
George of Greece. Prince George, however, was 
also an athlete and a man of ready wit, and when 
in Japan a fanatic rushed upon the Tsarevitch to 
kill him, Prince George raised his arm and suc- 
ceeded in so diverting the stroke that Nicholas re- 
ceived only a glancing blow on the forehead. 
Thus was he spared to return to Darmstadt and re- 
new r his suit with his love of earlier days. 

Royal marriages are so rarely love matches, that 
the world watches the few that are with admiration 
and hope. Too often diplomatic objections pre- 
vent the coming together of royal lovers. And so 
in the case with Nicholas, his father desired the 
union of his son with a Montenegrin princess. 

n6 Royal Romances of To-day 

Queen Victoria never really opposed the match, 
but she feared for the safety of her granddaughter. 
The Russian throne is supposed to offer unparal- 
leled peril to its occupants, and the health of the 
Princess Alix had never been rugged. Queen Vic- 
toria feared that under the great stress and strain 
of St. Petersburg Princess Alix would not have the 
strength to bear up. The Empress Frederick of 
Germany, an aunt of Princess Alix, was also doubt- 
ful of the wisdom of the match. Her reasons, 
however, were somewhat different. Empress 
Frederick had had many opportunities to watch the 
development of her sister's daughter and she had 
noticed, perchance with pain, certain qualities of 
temperament which may have been the result of 
her trying circumstances in early years, together 
with the fact that she had been left so much alone 
through the early death of her mother. She was 
reserved and shy, therefore seeming cold of nature, 
and haughty of manner. Having seen far less of 
the great world than most royal princesses she 
shrank from the social whirl. The loneliness of 
her childhood had taught her to find resource with- 
in herself, thus habits of reading, study, and con- 
templation had become part of her nature. These 
characteristics all make for the development of a 
splendid, substantial woman, but they fail to bring 
out the qualities essential to a woman who is to 
preside over a brilliant court, where the sway of 
personality, of grace, charm and wit — all of the 
surface virtues — count for as much, if not more, 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 117 

than the deeper qualities of sound character and a 
disciplined mind. 

Appreciating all this Empress Frederick did not 
encourage, even if she refrained from actively op- 
posing the marriage. 

The Polish Princess, Catherine Radziwill, 
chanced to be passing through Germany about this 
time and lingered for a few days, the guest of the 
Empress Frederick. One afternoon, Princess 
Radziwill referred to the betrothal and remarked 
on the happy fate which had led Nicholas to select 
a bride who had been imbued with the ideas of 
Germany and England. To her surprise the Em- 
press gravely shook her head and remarked that it 
was not always safe to trust what was said by peo- 
ple ignorant of the true character of those they 
praised or blamed, according to the exigencies of 
the moment. When Princess Radziwill pressed 
the Empress further she added that "Princess Alix 
had a haughty disposition, and would be inclined 
to take more seriously than might be supposed, her 
position of absolute sovereign." 

She went so far as to refer to the despotic tem- 
perament of her niece, and her self-opinioned tend- 
encies. "She is far too much convinced of her 
own perfection," said the Empress, "and she will 
never listen to other people's advice, besides, she 
has no tact, and perhaps, without knowing it, will 
manage to wound the feelings of the persons she 
ought to try and conciliate." 

Princess Radziwill remarked that it was pass- 

1 1 8 Royal Romances of To-day 

ing strange a daughter of Princess Alice, and a 
grand-daughter of Queen Victoria could have such 
a disposition. Whereupon the Empress returned 
sadly: "Oh! but when do you see daughters taking 
after their mothers?" Then, after a short pause 
she continued: "It would not be possible for any- 
one to be like my sister." 

But Alix loved Nicholas and she would be 
daunted by neither the perils of a restless empire, 
nor the fear of physical weakness or suffering, nor 
the discouragements of her royal relatives. And 
Nicholas, with that stubbornness that has ever char- 
acterised him, set about to win over all opponents 
to their marriage. First he appealed to his uncle, 
Grand Duke Serge, who had married Alix's sister, 
Elizabeth. Then he went to London and pleaded 
with Queen Victoria. Finally, he gained the con- 
sent of his own father, who was the last to yield. 
Then Nicholas went himself to Darmstadt to carry 
the news in person to his Princess who had now 
waited for this message for nine long years. 

There still remained one important obstacle. 
And that this was a difficulty to the German Prin- 
cess, is to her everlasting credit. According to the 
laws of Russia, the throne may never be occupied 
©r shared by anyone not of the Greek Catholic 
faith. Now Princess Alix, being born in Germany 
and brought up in Germany, was a Protestant. 
From earliest childhood, she had been devoted to 
the Church and to her religion, and the tenets of 
the Greek Church were totally unfamiliar to her. 


Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 119 

When they were presented to her there were many- 
things that seemed so strange that for a long time 
she could not acknowledge her acceptance of them. 

In most royal marriages, the brides change their 
faith as lightly as they change their gowns, and 
learn the priest-taught formulas that their tutors 
prescribe, and subscribe to the doctrines of their 
adopted church without fear or question. Alix de- 
manded intimate knowledge of all the doctrines 
she must accept, so learned theologians and doc- 
trinaires were dispatched to Darmstadt to give her 
instruction. Many are the stories told of her long 
arguments with these learned men over points that 
were not clear to her, and of her deep prying ques- 
tions into the reasons for certain regulations and 
laws. At one time it seemed as if she could not 
accept certain things that these holy men were en- 
deavouring to press upon her and more than one 
rumour went abroad that the royal marriage would 
never take place simply because of these religious 
difficulties. There seemed some ground for these 
reports, for the priest who had been her especial 
instructor, one Yanisheff, at one time became so 
despairing of his "heretical" charge, that he left 
Darmstadt altogether and returned to Russia. 

A long letter from the Princess was received by 
Nicholas, and he, instead of being hurt by the way 
she held out on these matters, expressed himself as 
highly pleased. A vigorous correspondence then 
passed quickly between them. And in the end, it 
was her love that conquered. I do not think that 

120 Royal Romances of To-day 

Princess Alix has ever been what the world calls 
an "ambitious woman." No one believes that the 
Greek priests "converted" her. But she loved 
Nicholas with a love that transcended all creeds 
and dogmas and finally, after long hesitation, her 
love rose to the highest point and for his sake she 
"accepted" the state church of the land that was to 
be her future home. 

At the time the betrothal was definitely an- 
nounced, it was anticipated that Alexander would 
probably continue to reign for some years, and that 
in the meantime the bride of the Heir Apparent 
would have ample time to accustom herself to 
Russia, and to school herself for the difficult role 
of Empress, which she would one day have to as- 

The Russian press was flooded with stories and 
anecdotes of the beauty, the cleverness, and the 
varied accomplishments of the German Princess 
whom Nicholas was bringing to Russia. This was 
to popularise her among the people. It was said 
that she was a rare musician, a great scholar, and 
even that she had taken the degree of doctor of 
philosophy at some university! Flaming litho- 
graphs of her were circulated by the thousand 
among the peasants, and in the space of a few 
months her name had become a household word 
across the Empire and the Russian people were 
prepared to accept her as a worthy consort to the 
Heir Apparent. 

The betrothal was announced in April. In Sep- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 121 

tember of the same year, Tsar Alexander's health 
began to fail rapidly and he was removed from the 
cold of the northern capital to the Royal estate of 
Livadia in the Crimea. 

I have seen royal palaces and parks in every part 
of the world, but I have never seen a more beauti- 
ful place than Livadia. It is on the slope of the 
Crimean Alps, some of whose peaks tower more 
than three thousand feet above the glorious blue 
waters of the Black Sea that here lap the shores of 
Livadia. Yalta, lovely Yalta, a winter jewel 
daintily set in a wondrous setting of sea and hills, 
is removed from Livadia by only a spur of moun- 
tains easily and quickly crossed. And here, when 
all the rest of Russia lies frozen beneath semi- 
Arctic snows, roses and oleanders bloom, and ripe 
fruit hangs luscious for the pickers. Here winter 
suns are warm and winter evenings balmy. 

I think the fairest nights I have ever seen have 
been in Yalta and on the road to Livadia when a 
December moon shone brightly over the restless 
water and aslant the lovely hills as in dream nights 
of June. 

To this most beauteous spot in all Russia, Alex- 
ander III was taken. It was the monarch's last 
journey. When it became evident that the end was 
near Nicholas sent for his bride-to-be. Probably 
no woman or man in modern times has had so warm 
a welcome prepared. The press of Europe was 
echoing and re-echoing the praise of the young 
Princess, in happy attune with the inspired press 

122 Royal Romances of To-day 

of Russia. The Emperor William himself went 
to meet the Princess at the Berlin railroad station 
and bid her Godspeed — she who was to wear an 
Imperial crown. 

Warsaw was the first Russian city where Prin- 
cess Alix paused on her journey to Livadia whither 
she was hastening in the expectancy of marrying 
prior to the death of Alexander III. At Warsaw 
she was met by her sister, the Grand Duchess 
Elizabeth, and farther along in the journey by the 
Heir Apparent. Her progress across the Empire 
was like a triumphal march despite the sadness that 
hovered over a nation whose ruler lay dying. 
Great arches of welcome were raised to her, and 
the populace turned out all along the way to do 
her honour. 

We can well imagine the mingled feelings of 
surprise and awe which must have overwhelmed 
the retiring and somewhat austere German Prin- 
cess, as she came in contact now for the first time 
with the great world, and with the homage of a 
vast people which from that day was to be her's 
for all the rest of the days of her life. Princes and 
potentates, like peasants from the isolated villages 
of the Steppes, bent their knees in humble obei- 
sance, while soldiers stood at salute as she passed. 
She knew full well that she was leaving behind her 
forever the simple life she had always known up 
until now. She knew that she was going to a 
death-bed scene, between ranks of gold and silver. 
Though her path was scattered with flowers and 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 123 

the plaudits of the people continuously rang in her 
ears, she knew what the end of the journey must be, 
and she must have known too, in a dim, tragic way, 
all that lay beyond the endraped gold, toward 
which she was speeding in the Crimea. 



UPON arriving at Livadia Princess Alix hastened 
to the bedside of the moribund Emperor. The fol- 
lowing day, in the royal chapel of Livadia she was 
received into the Greek Orthodox Church under 
the name of Alexandra Feodorovna. Her own 
preference was for the name Catherine, but yield- 
ing to the wishes of Nicholas, she accepted the 
name of his choosing. The wedding day was fixed 
for the following Wednesday, but the nearing end 
of Alexander necessitated a brief postponement- 
only till the end had come, and all that remained 
of him had been transported to St. Petersburg and 
laid to rest beside the remains of his father, and his 
father's fathers for many generations, in the gold- 
en-spired Chapel of the grim fortress of Saints 
Peter and Paul on the banks of the swift flowing 
River Neva. 

Some there are, believers in omens, who attribute 
many of the difficulties of her life as Tsaritsa to the 
name she took when she was received into the Rus- 
sian Church, — Alexandra Feodorovna, after the 
grandmother of the Tsar, her husband. For Alex- 
andra has long been an ill-fated name in the un- 
happy land of Princess Alix's adoption. 


Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 125 

A daughter of the Emperor Paul who was called 
Alexandra had a very tragic end. When she was 
but seventeen years of age her grandmother, Cath- 
erine II, arranged that she should marry the King 
of Sweden. The preparations for this royal wed- 
ding were all elaborately made and on the day set 
all was well, so far as the world knew. The tables 
were laid for the marriage banquet and the bride, 
all robed and ready, awaited her royal bridegroom. 
The guests were assembled and the priests stood by 
in their gorgeous mantles of gold. Suddenly His 
Majesty the King announced that he would not go 
on with the wedding! His courtiers and suite 
pleaded and implored him not to offer so terrible 
an insult to the daughter of an Emperor and to the 
whole Russian nation. But in vain. The King 
was obdurate. 

The news was tardily announced to Catherine, 
whose wrath knew no bounds. The guests with- 
drew and the Swedish party quit the Winter Pal- 
ace and returned to Stockholm. The humiliated 
Alexandra was given no further choice even after 
this terrible ordeal, but was speedily married willy 
nilly to an Austrian Grand Duke. But she really 
did not survive the shock of the failure of her mar- 
riage with the King of Sweden, and she died of 
humiliation and a broken heart — only nineteen 
years of age. 

A daughter of Nicholas I was named Alexandra. 
She was early married to a step-son of Napoleon 
Bonaparte. But a fatal disease carried her off be- 

126 Royal Romances of To-day 

fore she was twenty, again emphasising the tradi- 
tional tragedy associated with his name. 

Alexander II had a daughter Alexandra, a 
lovely, golden-haired child, but she succumbed to 
an illness in childhood. 

No wonder then, that the superstitious feared 
for the future of Princess Alix, when she took for 
herself the name that has so often been borne by 
daughters of sorrow in Russia. But Alexandra 
was the name Nicholas chose for her, and that suf- 
ficed. The mourning family returned to St. 
Petersburg after the death of Alexander III and as 
soon as preparations could be made, the wedding 
took place — the entire Court laying aside its 
mourning weeds for one day. Thus edged in 
black, the official ceremonial life of the Tsaritsa 

At the wedding ceremony, she did not show to 
advantage. She was reserved in her manner to the 
point of severity, and a trait was noticed on that 
day that has militated against her ever since. De- 
spite her natural physical grace she does not know 
how to dress! Her simple German training had 
not taught her how to wear beautiful clothes. Pos- 
sibly the wearing of lovely gowns well is an instinct 
born in some women. At all events on her wed- 
ding day, the Empress-bride failed to please the 

A few days later when the young Tsar was re- 
ceiving deputations from different parts of the Em- 
pire, there occurred a rupture between him and 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 127 

some deputies from the Province of Tver, which he 
has never been able to outlive, and for some unex- 
plained reason the sentiments that he then ex- 
pressed in heat, were accepted as the sentiments 
of the Empress as well. The Chairman of the 
deputation humbly offered the congratulations of 
the people of Tver, and ventured to add that it was 
their hope that the new Emperor might be pleased, 
in the course of his reign, to grant certain liberties 
to his people, perhaps even a Constitution. This 
hope was partly based on their faith in the young 
Empress, whom they expected would have liberal 
sympathies as a result of her life in Germany and 
her affiliations with England. But the Tsar burst 
forth into a terrible tirade against such notions, told 
them u to be done with these idle dreams," and even 
threatened the whole deputation with banish- 

The whole country was astounded at this un- 
called for outburst, and a lurking suspicion sprang 
up that the Tsaritsa might not be so liberal as they 
had hoped. And this indeed seems to have proved 
true, for whatever influence the Tsaritsa has ex- 
erted in Russia from that day to this, has been in 
the direction of Reaction and severe administra- 
tion. She has always accepted the point of view of 
her husband. Nicholas II believes himself a God- 
ordained Autocrat, and the great ambition of his 
life is, not to hand on to his successor a happy and 
peaceful nation living under a constitutional mon- 
archy, but an absolute autocracy, and Alexandra 

128 Royal Romances of To-day 

Feodorovna has supported and worked for the real- 
isation of this ambition. 

When one remembers the glorious, golden ro- 
mance of this girl, one's imagination is fired to 
highest heat, and one rejoices when the child who 
was called "Sunny," who early battled bravely with 
life, was at last coming unto her own. But alas! 
At the very moment when it would seem that 
Providence had filled her cup to the full, the dark 
clouds began to gather, and the little German Prin- 
cess, when she ceased to be Princess Alix, also 
ceased to be "Sunny." Instead of entering upon a 
period of life rich in blessings, showered with hap- 
piness, she faced graver responsibilities, greater 
hardships and harder battles than she yet had 
known. The cruelest blows of fate were yet to 
fall upon her. 

The wedding of the Tsar and Tsaritsa was al- 
most the only bright day of the winter of 1894 in 
St. Petersburg society. Mourning was resumed 
before even the usual wedding ceremonials were 
ended and few court functions were held until after 
the coronation, which took place the following 
spring. This event was looked forward to by the 
entire court and the most elaborate arrangements 
were made to make it the most magnificent and 
dazzling spectacle of the kind that a traditionally 
magnificent court had yet known, an historic occa- 
sion, notable from every point of view. 

During the festivities celebrating this event, the 
young Empress might have been expected to have 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 129 

won all hearts. Instead, the popularity of the 
Dowager was enhanced, and the suspicions against 
Alexandra, which had been aroused during the 
wedding celebration, were deepened. 

Russia, always poor, was in especially straitened 
circumstances the year of the coronation. Crops 
had failed — the winter had been severe — and peas- 
ants were starving in different parts of the Empire. 
Yet the coronation show cost the Government many 
millions of dollars. The harness worn by the 
horses that drew the carriage of the Empress alone 
cost more than one million dollars! 

The German Princess, born amid frugal sur- 
roundings, simply reared, early taught to value 
pennies, and never affluent, on this occasion found 
herself in a strange setting, indeed. Her coach 
followed the carriage of the Dowager Empress. 
Eight snow-white horses adorned with red morocco 
trappings trimmed with exquisitely engraved gold, 
champed their teeth on bits of solid gold, and above 
their heads waved snow-white ostrich plumes; in 
her shining chariot sat the Empress in a silver and 
satin gown with an ermine cloak over her shoul- 
ders, ropes of diamonds hanging from her shoul- 
ders, and a crest of diamonds above her head. 
How wonderful a change from the life she had al- 
ways known! Too great a change, perhaps. For 
even now her manner did not please the populace. 
The Dowager was hailed with acclamations and 
unprecedented enthusiasm. The Empress was re- 
ceived in dead silence. The situation was an im- 

130 Royal Romances of To-day 

possible one. She tried to smile upon the throng, 
but her smiles were stony and cold, and people re- 
marked to one another that she only "stared in dis- 
dain." After the long and tedious coronation serv- 
ice, as the Emperor was painfully making his way 
to the Church of the Ascension, staggering under 
the weight of his royal robes and crown, he 
stumbled and fell in a long swoon — just as he has 
fallen ever since under the weight of responsibili- 
ties and cares he has never been strong enough to 

The following day the coronation festivities were 
interrupted by a terrible catastrophe. Some five 
thousand peasants were crushed or trampled to 
death in a stampede and panic preceding the dis- 
tribution of certain simple meals, which were to 
have been in honour of the great event of the coro- 
nation. The calamity has never been satisfactorily 
explained, but there seems to have been a general 
lack of efficiency among those who had the dis- 
tribution in charge. No sooner was word received 
of the disaster, than the Dowager Empress hurried 
to the overcrowded hospitals, administering per- 
sonal comfort, and relief, and cheer to the surviving 
wounded. Her great activity and sympathetic de- 
votion endeared her yet more to the people, and as 
long as she lives, thousands will revere her for her 
expressions of grief and solicitude on this occasion. 

Nicholas, however, made himself conspicuous by 
doing nothing. On nearly every occasion during 
the course of his reign when he has had a signal 
opportunity for doing the right thing, he has acted 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 131 

precisely as he acted on this occasion — he has 
turned his back and gone off. And Alexandra 
Feodorovna has acted in concert with her husband. 
They both attended the ball at the French Embassy 
that same night, thus horrifying not only Russia 
but the civilised world. 

I do not believe that the Tsaritsa is lacking in 
heart warmth or human sympathies, but her life is 
dominated by one man. Before she was an Em- 
press she was a woman, and as a woman she loved, 
and as a woman she gave all to that love, and to 
the end of the chapter one must look for the real 
life of the Tsaritsa in those spheres where her per- 
sonal love for this one man holds sway. 

From the coronation day the Tsaritsa never re- 
gained a place in the affections of the Russian peo- 
ple, and having recognised this fact, and having 
realised the futility of usurping the place of the 
Dowager Empress, she simply ceased trying. The 
Russian people don't dislike her, they merely do 
not know her. 

When travelling through the interior of Russia, 
I constantly heard the Tsar spoken of by the peas- 
ants. Sometimes reverently, of late more often dis- 
dainfully, occasionally in the terms of the old Rus- 
sian proverb: "God is in heaven and the Tsar is far 
off." But I do not recall of ever hearing a peasant 
speak of the Empress. When I have asked about 
her the moujiks have invariably shrugged their 
shoulders in silence. They often have a bright 
coloured lithograph of her on the walls of their 
houses, and they all think the picture very beauti- 

132 Royal Romances of To-day 

ful. More than that, they know nor care not at all. 

Once in an interior village I heard a group of 
peasants discussing the Tsar with a trace of old- 
time superstitious reverence and I asked, "What of 
the Empress?" 

A shaggy old mou'jik shook his towsled head 
stolidly as he replied: "She is the Little Father's 
woman — but what can we know of her?" 

The Tsaritsa entered upon a life of unusual diffi- 
culty from the moment she crossed the Russian 
frontier. She realised even at the time of her wed- 
ding, and more than ever at her coronation that 
she was not liked at court, so she did what any sensi- 
tive soul would have done under similar circum- 
stances — she turned from the people who criticised 
her, who failed to appreciate her trying, turned to 
those whom she loved, who loved her. How many 
women in our own country have been through just 
such experiences! Not called upon to serve as 
queens or empresses, but summoned to positions 
they never were fitted or trained to occupy. With 
the realisation of failure comes a terrible disap- 
pointment and sorrow, sometimes heartbreak. 
Good women then turn to the fruits of love and in 
their children seek the salvation necessary to coun- 
teract the first failure. 

The Dowager Empress had never approved of 
the marriage of Nicholas to Princess Alix. She 
herself had always been exceedingly popular with 
the Russian people. In her affliction and bereave- 
ment the sympathy and affection of the nation went 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 133 

out to her. At the coronation of her son and his 
spouse, her warm personality so completely out- 
shone that of her younger successor as Empress 
of the people, that a circle of the court immedi- 
ately gathered about her. From that day to the 
present time the influence of the Dowager Empress 
and her "court party" has been more potent than 
that of the Tsaritsa. At times this influence has 
been directed openly against her rival and always 
to the embarrassment of the younger woman. For 
several years they were not even on speaking terms 
and to-day they rarely meet save on formal occa- 
sions when court etiquette demands the presence of 
them both at some particular function. The atti- 
tude of the Dowager Empress has been a source of 
continual pain to the Tsaritsa and besides actively 
militating against her, it has been one more strong 
influence driving her away from the usual interests 
and activities and more into her family life. 

This estrangement between the two first women 
of the court has also tended more than anything else 
to isolate Nicholas. It has resulted in periodic 
ruptures between the Tsar and his mother, and it 
has strained his relations with his numerous rela- 
tives and important personages of the court, who 
have remained loyal to her. 

These are some of the reasons why the life which 
ought to have been bright and happy has been ut- 
terly miserable, and now there are indications that 
a complete nervous breakdown may crown the bur- 
den of her years. 



Alexander Feodorovna, as the wife of the Em- 
peror, was expected to be the mother of an heir to 
the throne of Russia. And even here long years of 
enduring pain and travail were before her, for four 
girls were born before a son came to them. When 
the first child was born, in November, 1895, there 
was disappointment throughout the Empire. But 
the Tsar said a splendid thing at that time: "I am 
glad," said the Royal father, "that our child is a 
girl. Had it been a boy he would have belonged 
to the people, being a girl she belongs to us." 

One year and a half after the birth of the Grand 
Duchess Olga the second daughter was born, and 
she was named Tatiana. Marie followed in an- 
other two years, and Anastasie exactly two years 
later. More than three years then elapsed before 
Alexis, the son and heir, made his appearance. 
During these three years the aid of all kinds of 
soothsayers and charlatans was invoked to influence 
the sex of the child. An old priest of the interior 
who had been dead seventy years was canonised in 
the hope that the miracle of a boy might be 
worked ! This is a story by itself, however, and it 
would be premature to tell it now. 


Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 135 

It is wellnigh impossible for people in America 
to understand the disappointment and vexation of 
the court when girl after girl was born — four of 
them — before the long wanted son. The Tsaritsa 
fell more and more into disfavour, and the aristoc- 
racy — especially those who were the friends and 
followers of the Dowager — took advantage of the 
simple, superstitious peasants to point out to them 
that the Empress was not beloved in heaven or she 
would have borne a son. 

When finally a son was born many people loudly 
asserted that the boy was a substitution and not the 
Tsaritsa's child at all. This was a very malicious 
thing to say and was, of course, entirely untrue. 
The rumour persisted, however, and received cer- 
tain credence until it was pointed out that the Dow- 
ager Empress was far too watchful, and too much 
at enmity with the Empress to allow any such im- 
position to be perpetrated. 

Until the birth of the son the Tsaritsa took 
little part in public activity. Indeed, it was 
not until the war year of 1904 (which was also 
the year of the birth of a son) that she under- 
took to participate to any extent in work for the 

At the breaking out of the war between Russia 
and Japan the Tsaritsa undertook to assist the work 
of the Red Cross Society. I have seen several of 
the rooms in the Winter Palace which were turned 
over to the work of preparing bandages and warm 
clothing for the wounded soldiers in the hospitals 

136 Royal Romances of To-day 

at the front. In connection with this work the 
Tsaritsa was conspicuous before the people for the 
first time since her coronation as Empress in an 
undertaking properly belonging to the nation. She 
gathered together hundreds of young ladies of the 
court, organised working parties, and before long 
among the women of aristocratic circles it was dis- 
tinctly the thing to do to belong to one of the Em- 
press's working groups, to prepare warm caps, and 
mufflers, and stockings and bandages for the army. 
The Empress herself worked indefatigably. And 
so did the two older Grand Duchesses, Olga and 
Tatiana. They both sewed and knit till their lit- 
tle fingers were stiff and sore. 

The earnest spirit of patriotic pride and sacrifice 
exhibited by the Empress at this time was inspira- 
tion to thousands of young women in St. Peters- 
burg and Moscow, and on the big estates of rich 
noblemen throughout the Empire. One group of 
fashionable St. Petersburg girls presented them- 
selves in a body to the Empress with the request 
that they be sent to the front to serve as volunteer 
nurses. But the Empress replied: "You are not 
experienced enough for that work, nor strong 
enough to endure the hardships of life in Man- 
churia. What you may do is to serve in the hospi- 
tals of St. Petersburg, thus enabling the regular 
trained nurses to go to the front." Almost without 
exception these young ladies acted upon this sug- 
gestion, and many of them did most excellent serv- 
ice, eventually becoming as useful as nurses who 











Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 137 

had undergone the usual training in preparation 
for such work. 

Some idea of the extent of this work may be 
gathered from the single fact that in the year 1904 
the depot at Kharbin alone received from the Win- 
ter Palace headquarters, over which the Empress 
presided in person, no fewer than eleven million 
eight hundred articles. In addition to these things 
more than a million dollars in money was collected 
and forwarded for the purchase of surgical instru- 
ments and such other things as were sorely needed 
by the badly equipped Russian forces. Some 
seventy ambulance trains were organised, and a 
number of chapels and libraries. 

In thanking the corps of women who had assisted 
her in this work the Empress said: "I am happy to 
know that through the efforts of the workers in my 
depot my most ardent desire to give relief to our 
dear troops has been satisfied. 1 ' And in a telegram 
to one of the generals commanding at the front she 
said: "Inform the troops in the Far East that I re- 
joice that it has been given me to lighten even to a 
slight extent the lot of the unhappy victims of a 
cruel war, who have so self-sacrificingly shed their 
blood for the honour of the Throne of Russia. 
United in prayer with you all I lift up to the High- 
est my ardent petition that He may comfort all who 
have suffered on the field of battle and continue to 
keep alive in the hearts of the valiant and heroic 
Russian warriors, the feeling of devotion to their 
duty, their oath and their love to the Fatherland." 

138 Royal Romances of To-day 

The Empress also organised the famous "Dog 
Detachment," by which, with the help of dogs espe- 
cially trained in Germany, the overlooked wounded 
were sought out after the tides of battle had swept 
the Manchurian plains and hills. Unfortunately 
this detachment was never given proper opportu- 
nity for activity, as the fields of battle almost in- 
variably remained in the hands of the enemy. 

Besides the Red Cross work, the most important 
public undertaking of the Tsaritsa has been the 
establishment of Labour Aid Institutions. This is 
really an incipient charity enterprise and is being 
gradually extended to different parts of the Em- 

Viewed as the charity organisation of a great na- 
tion the whole scheme is a ridiculous farce, but 
viewed as the work of an individual its proportions 
seem substantial. A complete list of these institu- 
tions practically means a complete list of the chari- 
ties of the Empire, and includes temporary nurser- 
ies for babies, homes and asylums for children, 
lodging-houses for workless men, old people's 
homes, lying-in hospitals, institutions for the in- 
sane, libraries and reading-rooms and various de- 
pots where simple work is provided for those who 
are able. 

I visited a number of these institutions and satis- 
fied myself that, however satisfactory a catalogue 
of this work might be, that the work itself had 
small value. It is the crudest and most careless 
organisation of charity I have seen anywhere in 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 139 

the world, and carried on on such a trifling scale as 
to be practically valueless. If the time ever comes 
when the Russian Government can take up the 
work thus begun it will be given a value — the value 
that ultimately accrues to all pioneer work. 

There are more starving peasants in Russia every 
year than in any country of the western world. 
The numbers annually mount up into the millions 
— in 1906 there were twenty-seven millions in the 
famine belt. The beggars and workless, the 
maimed and the crippled victims of the war fill 
the streets of all the large cities. A lodging-house 
for fifty or a hundred men in a city where fifty 
thousand are in want is the merest drop in the 
bucket. The schools for girls are better equipped 
and better endowed than any of the other institu- 
tions embraced in this work, and this is owing to 
the personal interest of the Empress in girls. 

This interest of the Tsaritsa's in girls is doubt- 
less owing to the fact that she has so many daugh- 
ters of her own. Many of the schools which she has 
helped to start and to support have been named 
after her own little girls. The "Olga Children's 
Homes" in St. Petersburg and Moscow were first 
inaugurated in 1898 and now are on a firm founda- 

In Russia, the Labour Aid Institutions are 
treated lightly. Even friends of the Empress 
speak of them as trivial. Judged by their present 
capacities they are trivial. They are badly man- 
aged. They offer rich opportunities for what is 

140 Royal Romances of To-day 

variously called "protection," "patronage" and 
"graft" — opportunities which are fully taken ad- 
vantage of, as I saw for myself in several of the 
places which I visited. There were elaborate 
offices, luxuriously fitted with selected furnishings, 
and small regiments of young aristocrats and noble- 
men (like all public servants of rank in Russia, 
called "chinovniks") serving as clerks and di- 
rectors. Positions of absolute sinecure carrying 
rich emoluments. Not one of these institutions — 
outside of the orphanages — would stand the test of 
scientific charity or philanthropy. For all this I 
am inclined to give the work a higher value than 
do the Russian people for, after all, Russia will 
one day be a modern nation in forms and institu- 
tions, and then all of this work will needs be de- 
veloped. It will then be good to have this little 
experiment scattered about the country. It may 
prove the foundation for a work of worthy propor- 
tions. And I am glad that the Empress may claim 
credit for most of what has been done. There are 
schools and institutions of one sort or another 
named after each of the children, as well as after 
the Empress herself, and to all of these the Em- 
press contributes annually from her private purse. 
In no sense can any, or all of these enterprises be 
considered a great work, but they are all charac- 
teristic of the Tsaritsa. It is indicative of simple, 
human sympathies, it is quiet and unostentatious — 
almost timidly so — but the idea underlying it all is 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 141 

The court of Nicholas II does not entertain 
nearly so frequently nor so lavishly as the preced- 
ing Courts of the last hundred years. This is 
partly owing to the temperament of the present 
Tsar, and the retiring characteristic of the 
Tsaritsa, and also because of the troubled and dis- 
traught condition of the Empire during the last 
several years. Several court balls each winter are 
required, however, and on these occasions the Tsar- 
itsa is always a conspicuous figure. Her own en- 
joyment at these Royal functions may well be ques- 
tioned. In the first place, there are certain aged 
ministers, ambassadors and potentates with whom 
she must dance. Doubtless these eminent worthies 
are frequently endowed with great dignity, but 
statesmanship and imposing presence do not make 
up for grace and ease in tripping figures to light 
music. And if, perchance, the Tsaritsa would 
waltz with a brilliant young officer, or charming 
courtier, all the other dancers must at once stop and 
clear the floor for the Empress and her favoured 
partner. To be thus the observed of all observers 
cannot be otherwise than trying to one of so modest 
and retiring a nature. 

Years before, when the Tsaritsa was still only 
Princess Alix of Hesse, she had visited St. Peters- 
burg as the guest of her sister Elizabeth, who had 
married the Grand Duke Sergius. During one of 
the dances at a certain ball given during this visit, 
Princess Alix slipped on the polished floor and fell. 
Her partner, as well as a number of young officers, 

142 Royal Romances of To-day 

sprang toward her to assist her to her feet, but the 
Grand Duke chanced to be near and he, too, sprang 
to her assistance. Instantly the embarrassed part- 
ner and other officers stepped back. The privilege 
of assisting the confused and blushing Princess was 
the prerogative of the Grand Duke because of his 
exalted position! 

When the Tsaritsa does participate in a public 
function she does it with a stateliness and grace 
that commands respect, whatever of coldness her 
manner may suggest. 

I had the privilege of being near to her on one 
of these occasions. It was the 10th day of May, 
1906, in the Throne Room of the Winter Palace 
in St. Petersburg. 

The Emperor had called together the First 
Duma and the members of this extraordinary body, 
together with the council of Empire and the entire 
Court, were assembled to hear the speech from the 
Throne. It was the first time in sixteen months 
that the Royal Family had visited the capital. 
These sixteen months had been characterised by 
almost continuous revolutionary activity, successive 
mutinies in the army and navy, general strikes and 
disturbances of every description. There was 
wide speculation as to the probable outcome of this 
meeting between the Tsar and the representatives 
of the people. "To us," remarked one of the 
Ladies of Honour attached to the Empress, "to us, 
it is like letting the Revolution into the Palace" — 
this reception of the elected deputies of the people! 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 143 

Members of the court were fearful lest the Tsar 
would never return from the Throne Room. 
Many, if not most of the nobles present, went in 
fear and trembling, and went because they had been 
commanded by the Emperor and for no other rea- 

I met one well known Prince the morning of that 
day and he immediately bade me congratulate him, 
as he had been excused from appearing at the func- 

When the music of the National Anthem was 
heard, announcing the approach of the Royal party 
the atmosphere of the Throne Room became so 
tense that it was painful. Not one person in the 
room dared think what the next minute might 
bring forth! When the Tsar and the Grand 
Dukes and the Empress and the Dowager Empress 
and the Grand Duchesses were all assembled be- 
fore the richly attired Metropolitans and high 
priests for the interminable preliminary blessings, 
the slightest sound echoed throughout the room, 
so still and strained was every human being in the 
room. The nervousness of the Tsar was apparent 
to all. The agitation of the Grand Dukes was 
laughable, especially the manifestations of their 
fear in their repeated and excited crossing of 
themselves. Even correspondents, schooled and 
trained to recklessness in all kinds of danger and 
calm to the point of being blase in the face of any 
situation, breathed hard and showed the terrible 
strain and tension of the minutes. 

144 Royal Romances of To-day 

The Empresses alone appeared in full command 
of every nerve and muscle. I looked upon the 
Tsaritsa in silent admiration. The picture of her 
strong, immovable figure is imaged forever upon 
my memory. The fluttering of a glove or a hand- 
kerchief from the balcony to the floor would surely 
have upset the entire assemblage in spite of its mag- 
nificent show of military symbols, buttons, medals 
and gold and silver trappings. The thought came 
to me there, and I have recalled it many times since, 
had such an untoward incident occurred the Tsar- 
itsa alone, or at least, the Empresses alone, would 
have stood stolid. The exquisite poise and com- 
plete possession of the Tsaritsa commanded abso- 
lute admiration. Cold and indifferent she may be 
toward the people of her court, but on an occasion 
like this she certainly acquits herself with rare 
credit. At all times a magnificent woman to look 
upon, tall, statuesque, imposing, imperial, she never 
appeared to better advantage than on this occasion. 

With her, somewhat back in the procession were 
the four older children of the Tsar and Tsaritsa — 
Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasie. These little 
girls bear the title of Grand Duchess, and in them 
has the life of the Tsaritsa long been centred. Pres- 
ently I shall have a number of stories to tell of 
their nursery days. As we go on we shall learn 
how completely the life and time of the Tsaritsa 
have been taken up with her children and their 
home and family life. 

Easter is one of the greatest fetes of the year in 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 145 

Russia. The long Lenten fast is usually kept rigor- 
ously by all classes over whom the church main- 
tains dominion, and even by many who have ceased 
to reverence Orthodoxy, but in whom the instinct 
of traditional observance remains. 

On Easter Eve there is a tremendously solemn 
service in all of the churches in the land. At 
the stroke of midnight priests and choir burst 
forth in loud hallelujahs and all the people 
shout "Christ is Risen!" "Christ is Risen!" and 
greet one another with a holy kiss. Every- 
body kisses everybody else in sight regardless 
of previous acquaintance. I remember standing 
bolt upright in a fearful press in St. Isaac's Ca- 
thedral one Easter Eve for two mortal hours in the 
middle of the night, the atmosphere hot and fetid 
till even men swooned and all wearied unspeak- 

On Easter morning presents are exchanged and 
masters and mistresses greet all the servants of their 
households with the holy kiss. The Tsar and Tsar- 
itsa observe this custom as religiously as the hum- 
blest of their subjects, and every palace maid and 
stable boy is greeted in this way. Long before the 
hour when the Emperor and Empress are to receive 
the household, there is great excitement below 
stairs where all the servants busily scrub their hon- 
est faces with soap and water till they shine like 
great apples in preparation for the kiss of their im- 
perial master and mistress. The Tsar kisses every 
man in the palace, even to the soldiers on duty, and 

146 Royal Romances of To-day 

the Empress every maid servant. On one occasion 
the Tsaritsa remarked that she "sometimes thought 
the Emperor had rather the better of it because of 
the new leather that the soldiers wear on that day, 
and which smells so nice!" 

In view of the fact that court observance would 
naturally expect the Tsaritsa to play the role of 
Empress, rather than of mother and wife as her life 
work, it is the more extraordinary that this mighty 
Queen (in point of power and opportunity) has 
chosen the quieter life of the home. 

In addition to the private fortune of the Tsar, 
an immense income accrues from the gold and pre- 
cious stone mines of Siberia which are worked by 
convicts for the private purse of the Emperor and 
from the vast timber holdings that he controls; be- 
sides all this, the Government officially grants him 
a "salary" of nearly five million dollars a year, 
which is paid to him in monthly instalments of four 
hundred thousand dollars each. 

The Tsaritsa, as head of the Royal Household, 
is mistress of nearly thirty thousand servants, scat- 
tered in many palaces and residences throughout 
the Empire. It is not likely that this vast retinue 
is any particular care to her, for the army of serv- 
ants, just like the army of soldiers, is divided into 
groups and officered by various functionaries. In 
fact, it is likely that the two armies are not dissimi- 
lar in the minds of the Tsar and Tsaritsa. Every 
wish of the Tsar's is a command to the army and 
has only to be uttered to an aide to be executed. 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 147 

So the word of the Tsaritsa spoken to a lady-in- 
waiting is all sufficient to be carried out by any or 
all of her servant host. 

There are fifty thousand head of cattle in the 
Royal pastures, and five thousand horses in the 
Royal stables. Over all these the Tsaritsa is su- 
preme — as the wife and consort of the Tsar, — and 
one hundred and forty million subjects besides! 

The point of her whole life as Empress is that 
when Princess Alix married Nicholas she gave her- 
self and all of her activity to Nicholas — not to the 
Russian nation. 

Every act of hers has been one of personal de- 
votion. If Princess Alix had been ambitious as 
many women in court circles are, or if she had 
never loved so intensely and so blindly, the world 
looking back upon her career as it does to-day, 
might have deemed her a better Empress. As it 
happened, circumstances throughout her life have 
all driven her back from the public role and more 
into the circle of the family. Thus it comes about 
that the chronicler of her life must pass lightly 
over her life as Empress and dwell at length upon 
those sides of her character which the words wife 
and mother indicate. In other words, her entire 
life has been one long romance. A life of devotion 
to her husband and to her children, and this at the 
expense of her duties as Empress. 

As the years have passed the disposition of the 
child once called "Sunny" has altered and changed, 
and the lines of wistful pathos which have settled 

148 Royal Romances of To-day 

round her still lovely face are doubtless indications 
of the drops of gall that have tainted her cup of 
life's happiness. For all these mellowing lines the 
Tsaritsa wears an expression that in many lights is 
of that unusual other-worldly beauty, so seldom 
seen in the great world of to-day, but common to 
so many of the women whose portraits have been 
left us by the world artists of the Middle Ages. It 
is an expression that appears and ripens only under 
soul development, and as we see it in the Tsaritsa 
we do not find it difficult to understand and trace, 
for a considerable part of her life has been given 
over to religious thought and contemplation, and 
not to the study of theological doctrines and con- 
troversies only, but to the deeper truths of spiritual- 
ism and mysticism, truths whose elusiveness holds 
them for ever remote to all save the few, and 
whose realities are measured only by the standards 
of the eternal verities. This brings us to one of the 
most extraordinary, and at the same time one of 
the fascinating sides of the life of the Tsaritsa. 



An interesting trait of the forebears of Princess 
Alix was their belief in ghosts. Presently we shall 
see that Princess Alix, even after she became Tsar- 
itsa, gave much of her time to the study of the mys- 
tics and has always had spiritualistic tendencies 
and beliefs in the supernatural. Most of the 
Dukes of Hesse are credited with similar super- 

Duke George II, who lived in the seventeenth 
century, is said to have seen the ghost of his dead 
brother Wilhelm on one occasion. Before the 
death of Wilhelm there had been a quarrel between 
the two brothers. The ghost chastened and se- 
verely reproached Duke George for his bitterness 
and hatred. The incident made such an impres- 
sion upon him that as long as he lived, he could 
not shake off the spell of the weird experience. 

Another Duke of Hesse, a William, had a life- 
long terror of ghosts and always slept in a bril- 
liantly lighted room. A story is on record of this 
man that he once returned to one of his hunting 
lodges at night, when suddenly all of the lights 
went out, a great wind magically arose, doors 
slammed, windows shook — and presto! — the lights 


150 Royal Romances of To-day 

as suddenly reappeared, but all of the soldiers of 
the guard had mysteriously vanished and the entire 
lodge was dismantled. Long before this the lodge 
was reputed "haunted," so that when the Duke was 
there the soldiers of the guard were changed every 
thirty minutes and the whole establishment kept 
well lighted. 

Just prior to the birth of the fifth child to the 
Empress, a phase of temperament developed, 
which attracted the attention and comment of the 
world. From early girlhood, the Princess Alix 
had manifested an interest in things philosophical 
and theological. Back in her old home at Darm- 
stadt, the Royal betrothal had once nearly been 
broken owing to the religious scruples of the bride- 
to-be. Princess Alix could not convince herself or 
be convinced that she was right in renouncing the 
Protestant faith of her mother and adopting that 
of the Greek Catholic Church. Finally, her love 
for Nicholas overcame her scruples of conscience 
and she forced herself to accept the doctrines of 
the State Church of Russia. Priests who had been 
assigned to tutor her, to this day relate their ex- 
periences and difficulties in meeting the arguments 
and answering the questions brought up by the 
Princess: the familiarity which she exhibited with 
German theological writings and philosophical 
theories confused them. In Russia, as Empress, 
she continued to encourage her interest in religious 
doctrines and theories. The friends of her own 
choosing were generally men and women with 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 151 

whom she could discuss vital religious problems. 
Surrounded as she was by an atmosphere perenni- 
ally surcharged with the sense of impending 
tragedy, she not unnaturally, developed pro- 
nounced morbid tendencies. From time to time, 
she believed that she caught the glint of certain 
gleams of spiritual truths in the distance and these 
she pursued with that fatal persistence which so 
often leads people, especially women of tempera- 
mental or melancholy tendencies to ultimately ac- 
cept various "isms." The Tsaritsa became more 
and more markedly spiritualistic. By nature and 
by training, she was retiring and preferred the 
splendid isolation of the court in her home circle 
to the more brilliant opportunities offered her by 
her supreme social position. These tendencies to- 
ward retirement, encouraged as they were by the 
Court which did not take kindly to her nor exhibit 
at any time the cordiality and friendliness gener- 
ally accorded Queens, she came to live more and 
more in the realms of the spiritual. She carried 
her intellectual interests far beyond the things we 
know and over into the borderland of Faith and 
Belief. To those who knew her well, it was not a 
matter of special surprise when, after the birth of 
three children and no heir to the throne, the Tsar- 
itsa turned an open ear to various men who claimed 
supernatural control over things physical. 

Prior to the birth of Anastasie, the aid of emi- 
nent medical and scientific men was sought to in- 
fluence, if possible, the sex of the next child, but all 

152 Royal Romances of To-day 

to no avail. (What pangs of bitterness must some- 
times have come to her mother heart when she re- 
membered the two boys whose father was also the 
father of her daughters, — two sons who could never 
be recognised by their own father and who were 
destined forever to be exiled to a foreign land be- 
cause of the blot on their 'scutcheon! What pierc- 
ing irony of fate for the father who must some- 
times have remembered his outcast sons upon whom 
he had bestowed the bastard mark while the birth 
of a legitimate son and heir was so long deferred!) 
When science failed, religion and spiritualism 
were appealed to. Rumours were rife of various 
charlatans imported from one place or another to 
practise their magic. Of these, the one who came 
to be the most widely known was called Philippe. 
Philippe first joined the royal entourage at Li- 
vadia. Later, he was brought to Moscow and St. 
Petersburg, and for several years, he is said to have 
exercised great influence not only over the Em- 
press but over the Tsar as well. The Tsar has ever 
been an impressionable man and though he has 
displayed all the stubbornness of a weak nature, he 
has frequently been under the domination of others. 
Just as he was willing to lend a ready ear to Pobie- 
donostzeff and to his uncle, the Grand Duke Ser- 
gius, so also was he willing to listen to charlatans 
who came to him well recommended. It was un- 
der the Reactionary Grand-ducal party that Phi- 
lippe was brought to Russia. In course of time, 
this man came to be known as "the Tsar's magi- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 153 

cian." An atmosphere of profound mystery al- 
ways surrounded Philippe, although of the extent 
of his domination, there never was any question. 
From all that I can gather, this man's name was 
Philippe Landard. Landard is supposed to have 
been the son of a shepherd and that he was born in 
a small village situated high among the French 
Alps. When quite a boy, his father would regu- 
larly take him to the local abattoir, and on one of 
these visits, he made the acquaintance of a butcher 
who took the boy into his employ. Landard pos- 
sessed imagination even as a child, as is evinced by 
the fact that his contract with the slaughter-house 
prompted him with the desire to become a surgeon. 
With this hope in view, he attended evening classes 
and night lectures in the medical school at Lyons. 
Handicapped, however, by lack of money and pre- 
sumably not endowed with keenest intelligence, he 
never succeeded in passing the examinations neces- 
sary to admit him to practice. What he did suc- 
ceed in doing, however, was to discover and de- 
velop certain magnetic powers which he undoubt- 
edly had, — powers of personality which he culti- 
vated remarkably. He turned this power especi- 
ally in the direction of healing. He practised 
auto-suggestion and by the judicious use of mas- 
sage, frequently succeeded in convincing people 
that his healing powers were literally real. Ulti- 
mately, he was able to establish himself as a 
thaumaturgist or practising healer in the Rue 
Tape d'Or at Lyons where he acquired con- 

154 Royal Romances of To-day 

siderable local notoriety which presently spread 
all over France among people who believed 
in his art. At least twice, he is said to have 
been arrested and charged by the police as an 
illegal practitioner. This led him to be more 
discreet in his methods and he refrained 
from ever writing a prescription or committing 
himself in writing on any point. The leader of 
the French School of Occultism became interested 
in him and through him, he met Dr. George von 
LangsdorfT of Freyburg. Dr. von LangsdorfT had 
been brought to Russia by the Grand Duke Con- 
stantine Nicholevitch and presented to the Em- 
peror Alexander II who had actually commis- 
sioned him to sense out and unravel Nihilist con- 
spiracies. Dr. von LangsdorfT, whether through 
the connivance of the political police or not we do 
not know, succeeded in foretelling certain plots 
which actually materialised. He attained con- 
siderable notoriety in connection with the blowing 
up of the dining-room of the Winter Palace in St. 
Petersburg in 1880. Dr. von Langsdorff evinced 
considerable interest in Landard but unlike von 
LangsdorfT and other members of the French 
School of Occultism, Landard ascribed his super- 
natural powers, both in matters of healing and pro- 
phesy, to divine influence, that is to say, whereas 
the French practitioners were avowedly irreligious 
and proclaimed themselves Freethinkers, Lan- 
dard cultivated the spiritual element and professed 
himself a religious man. 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 155 

Through von Langsdorff, Landard was brought 
into contact with certain members of the Rus- 
sian colony of royalties who annually visit the Ri- 
viera. It was upon their invitation that Philippe 
visited Nice and while there was fortunate enough 
to win the favour of the Grand Duke Alexis. This 
was accomplished through curing the Grand Duke 
of a painful attack of rheumatism of the knee by 
his "laying on of the hands" method and magnet- 
ism. The Grand Duke Alexis passed Philippe on 
to the Grand Duchess Vladimir, who in turn 
brought him to Russia and was instrumental in 
having him put in touch with Tsar Nicholas II. 
From all accounts, Philippe was a man of courage, 
personality, of winning and sympathetic man- 
ner. The Tsar frankly liked him and before 
long, Philippe was established as a more or less 
permanent member of the Royal Household. The 
Emperor consulted Philippe on all kinds of per- 
sonal questions and later sought his counsel in re- 
gard to the weightiest questions of state. It has 
even been said that during the winter of 1902-3, 
the influence of Philippe had grown so supreme, 
that a determined protest was submitted to the Tsar 
by the members of his council and ministers, in- 
cluding Conte Witte. Philippe was retired for a 
time from practice, but was still retained as a mem- 
ber of the Royal household and, privately, Nicholas 
continued to listen to the spiritualistic haverings 
of this man. From time to time, Landard also ap- 
peared to effect cures upon various members of the 

156 Royal Romances of To-day 

Royal household and of the court. These things 
naturally tended to strengthen his position and to 
enhance his prestige. The result of these manifes- 
tations of power upon Emperor Nicholas was to 
confirm his confidence in Philippe's supernatural 
connections. In him, Nicholas thought he had 
found another, if not the actual reincarnation of 
Joan of Arc. Nicholas seems to have had little 
difficulty in persuading the Empress to trust in the 
potency of Philippe's power in regard to influenc- 
ing the sex of their next child. At all events, the 
next child proved to be a son. Philippe claimed 
much of the credit for this, but it is evident that 
the entire credit was not accorded him by the Royal 
Family inasmuch as a certain parish priest in the 
Province of Tambov was later given credit for ex- 
erting a like influence. The priest had been dead 
many years, but his tomb had been made a kind of 
shrine by the moujiks and it had been annually 
visited by barren women who claimed to have 
found in the shrine the secret of fruitfulness and 
also the spirit of influencing the sex of unborn chil- 

The effect of Philippe's ministrations upon the 
Tsaritsa let her still deeper within the portals of 
the Spirit World. To conclude the story of Phi- 
lippe, it is said that he became intoxicated with the 
power and confidence bestowed in him by the 
Royal Family and that he overshot himself at the 
time of the Russo-Japanese war. He is supposed 
to have been largely instrumental in persuading 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 157 

Nicholas to take the attitude that he did which 
brought about the war and throughout the long, 
disastrous campaign was continually prophesying 
a turn in the tide which never came. Landard is 
said to have represented to the Emperor that he had 
been selected by Divine Inspiration to assure the 
Emperor that the war in Manchuria would in- 
augurate a new and great era of Russian glory that 
would forever overshadow the Yellow Peril which 
at that time was popularly feared to be menacing 
Europe. When disaster followed disaster, mem- 
bers of the Court and Royal Household lost faith 
in Philippe and finally the Tsar himself ordered 
him to leave Russia within forty-eight hours. This 
banishment proved a great blow to Landard, who, 
heart broken and covered with disgrace, returned 
to his own native villa of St. Julian d'Arbresle 
where he died the following year from a complica- 
tion of internal disorders. 

Despite the downfall of Philippe, the faith of 
the Empress was not shaken in the least in things 
mystic and spiritual and there is ample evidence 
that this inherent characteristic has in reality be- 
come a veritable second nature. 

Miss Margaret Eager, an Irish lady of good edu- 
cation, was called to Russia in the year 1899 to 
serve in the capacity of Nursery Governess to the 
Royal Family. Miss Eager is very much of a 
Celt. She has a profound belief in the philosophy 
of mysticism and indeed she herself seems to be pos- 
sessed of certain supernatural powers, second sight, 

158 Royal Romances of To-day- 

visions and dreams that come true. Miss Eager 
related to me various occurrences in the Royal 
Family concerning strange and seemingly mystical 
manifestations. Miss Eager herself, believes 
firmly in the reality of the spiritualistic sense of 
the Empress. 

When the Grand Duchess Olga was three years 
old, she was taken ill with a gastric attack from 
which she did not fully recover for two or three 
weeks, the attack itself, in its severe form, keeping 
the Royal child in bed three or four days. The 
first time Miss Eager left the bedside of the sick 
child for a breath of fresh air, she went for a walk 
along the quays of the Neva. Upon her return, as 
she entered the room, little Olga looked up and 
said, "An old lady was here!" "What old lady?" 
she asked. "An old lady who wears a blue dress," 
the child replied. Miss Eager was frankly puz- 
zled because the Court was in mourning at that 
time and there was no one wearing a blue dress. 
"Surely, you mean blue. What kind of blue?" 
questioned Miss Eager. "It was not like Mam- 
ma's," and the child paused. Miss Eager thought 
perhaps one of the maids had had a visitor 
and so they were all questioned, but nobody 
knew of any visitor during Miss Eager's 
absence, and so the matter for the moment 
was dropped and dismissed by Miss Eager 
as a possible vagary of the child's imagination. A 
few days later, Miss Eager was sitting on the floor 
with the Royal children in a certain room in the 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 159 

Royal Palace playing at building castles of cards. 
Suddenly, Olga looked up and exclaimed, "There 
is the old lady in blue!" "Where? Where?" said 
Miss Eager and the other children. "There! she 
came through the bedroom door; she is standing 
at the door now!" Miss Eager quickly caught up 
the child and ran through the bedroom into the 
room beyond and into yet another room, but she 
could find no one nor could she hear any footsteps. 
"Well," said Olga to Miss Eager, " you must be 
very stupid because the old lady was there." Two 
days later, the Empress directed Miss Eager to take 
the child to the Chapel in the Winter Palace and 
there, in the hall on the way to the chapel, are two 
life-sized portraits of the Emperor Alexander II 
and his wife. Looking at the picture of Alexander 
IPs wife, Olga said, "Why, that is the lady I saw 
in the blue dress and see, her dress is not the 
dress Mamma wears." The identification was 
made by the Grand Duchess with the utmost 

Now, this incident by itself would have no sig- 
nificance, but Miss Eager relates in connection 
with it other incidents which give it interesting if 
fantastic value. Miss Eager, during her long stay 
in the Royal Household, always slept with the nur- 
sery. One night, she maintains, she distinctly 
heard a voice coming from directly beneath her 
bed. The voice was far off and weird and was as 
of one weeping bitterly and making terrible com- 
plaints and the language used was French. The 

160 Royal Romances of To-day 

story she was relating was one of extreme intimacy. 
Miss Eager says that she sat up in bed to try to 
locate from whence the sounds were coming, but no 
sooner had she raised herself upright than the 
voice ceased. Upon laying her head on the pillow 
again, the voice resumed and the complaints were 
of her husband's unfaithfulness. While Miss 
Eager was still meditating the extraordinary ex- 
perience, the Empress as was her wont, entered the 
room and Miss Eager asked her what room was 
directly beneath the room they were then in. The 
Empress replied, "Merely storerooms." Miss 
Eager then said to the Empress, "But there is some 
poor woman there and suffering from the most ter- 
rible affliction." The Empress replied, "What are 
you saying?" Whereupon, Miss Eager related what 
she had just experienced. The Empress then asked 
if the words were spoken in English. "No," re- 
plied Miss Eager, "It is French; at first I thought 
it might be the cook, but that is impossible because 
the French spoken was very pure and elegant." The 
Empress then said that if Miss Eager thought there 
was any one below, she had better get out of bed 
and listen at the floor, which she did, but could 
hear nothing. The Empress then told her to get 
back into bed and go to sleep. Immediately her 
head touched the pillow, the voice was again aud- 
ible to her. Suddenly the Empress said, "Tell me, 
does it remind you of anything you have ever heard 
before? Do you know anything of the story of 
this room before it was done up for my little ones?" 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 161 

Miss Eager replied that she knew that the wife of 
Alexander II slept in this room and then she re- 
called having heard that this woman was very un- 
happy because of her husband's numerous pecca- 
dilloes with other women. She recalled, also, that 
the Princess Dolgoruki was Alexander II's mis- 
tress. His wife, who used this room over a long 
period of time, used nightly to bury her face in her 
pillow and cry aloud. After she recalled these 
things, the Empress said, "Yes, but before she died, 
she went to the Dolgoruki and told her of her un- 
happiness, using the very selfsame words that you 
have just repeated to me as having heard while 
on your pillow." The Empress thereupon told 
Miss Eager that she was sleeping on the very bed 
which Alexander II's wife had used and upon 
which she died. The next day, the Empress her- 
self, insisted that the entire furnishings of the room 
be changed and that a new bed be installed. It is 
said that Alexander II, after the death of his wife, 
wanted to marry the Princess Dolgoruki, which in- 
deed, he may have done morganatically. Miss 
Eager was deeply impressed by this experience and 
in the mind of the Empress there was no question 
or shadow of doubt whatever. 

Another incident related by Miss Eager in con- 
nection with the Empress occurred in the Palace 
at Peterhof. One night, according to her custom, 
the Empress entered Miss Eager's room. Miss 
Eager relates that she awoke to find herself being 
shaken by Her Majesty who was crying, "Awake! 

1 62 Royal Romances of To-day 

awake! come back!" and when Miss Eager came to 
her senses, she realised that she was crying bitterly. 
"What is it? What is it?" exclaimed the Empress. 
"I have been here five minutes shaking you and you 
would not wake up; what is the matter?" Miss 
Eager replied that she must have had a nightmare. 
The Empress insisted upon knowing what Miss 
Eager had seen in her unhappy dream, whereupon, 
the nursery governess related that in her dream, she 
appeared to be in a town of some far distant coun- 
try — a southern land. The streets were badly 
lighted; many of them were narrow and the people 
round about her who filled the streets, were dark 
and swarthy. Traversing these streets, she pres- 
ently came to a great building before which a 
crowd had collected. As she stood and wondered 
what interest held the people, an open carriage 
drove up. The thought flashed through her mind, 
"Royalty must be expected; who can it be?" Just 
then, out of the building came an elderly gentle- 
man whom Miss Eager did not recognise, but he 
was followed closely by a man in uniform. After 
the man got into the carriage, there was the glint 
of flashing steel and immediately the oldish man 
dropped back apparently lifeless. At once, all was 
turned into a mad dream and Miss Eager found 
herself trying to crush the Empress and the Royal 
Princesses under the seat of the carriage. Where- 
upon, the Empress laughed and said, "You can see 
for yourself, that it was only a dream, for you could 
not shove me under the seat of the carriage even if 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 163 

you could succeed in putting the children there." 
When the Empress had gone Miss Eager once 
more drifted off into sleep. In the morning when 
she awoke, she was tired and nervous as if after 
some long journey. When Mary, the nurse, came 
in, she said, "Why, Miss Eager, what is the matter 
with you this morning?" and Miss Eager told her 
that in the night she had had a terrible dream in 
which she had seen a man in a carriage murdered. 
At breakfast time, when she saw the Empress, she 
said, "Have you had any more nightmares?" and 
then turning to the Emperor, who had just entered 
the room, Her Majesty directed Miss Eager to re- 
late to him the hideous dream of the night before. 
Whereupon, Miss Eager related the unhappy 
scenes of her nightmare. The Tsar listened with 
the utmost attention and when Miss Eager had fin- 
ished speaking, he said, "Miss Eager, I hope that 
you won't be very much frightened because what 
you saw in your dream last night was an incident 
which occurred in a town of Northern Italy where 
His Majesty, King Humbert, was assassinated at 
precisely the hour that the Empress entered your 
room and in that manner that you describe in your 
dream." Miss Eager, like a flash, remembered the 
picture she had seen of the late King of Italy and 
it was the man whom she had seen enter the car- 
riage followed by the officer in uniform! As the 
Tsar told her this, he held in his hand a telegram 
which had just been received detailing the news of 
this assassination. 

164 Royal Romances of To-day 

On one occasion, the Empress told Miss Eager 
that all her life she had been much interested in 
the spiritual world, but that she had come to the 
conclusion that it was wrong to meddle with such 
things because if there was anything in it, it must 
come from the devil. 

Early one evening, the Empress entered the nur- 
sery and told the children that she was going to 
dinner and would probably be very late, conse- 
quently would not come in to see them on her re- 
turn, as was her wont. There was going to be a 
seance after the dinner. The next day, Miss Eager 
took occasion to ask Her Majesty if she had en- 
joyed the seance. The Tsaritsa proceeded to tell 
her all about a clairvoyant called Philippe but with 
a note of bitterness in her recital, for she said 
that Philippe had mesmerised her husband and 
made him do exactly what he told him. The Em- 
press steadfastly refused to see Philippe after that. 
Just what occurred at this seance, the Empress 
never did say, at least to Miss Eager, but it was 
quite clear to her that Her Majesty had been unfa- 
vourably impressed and that she would have noth- 
ing more to do with the mysterious Frenchman. 
Considerable pressure was brought to bear upon the 
Empress by various ladies of the Court to persuade 
her to go once more to Philippe, but she never 
would do it. 

These incidents indicating this phase of the Tsar- 
itsa's character are, of course, sympathetically in- 
terpreted by Miss Eager because she, herself, be- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 165 

lieves so absolutely in the spirit world, in dreams 
and intuitions. 

For example, before Port Arthur was beseiged, 
Miss Eager in a dream saw its fall and told the 
Empress about it. The Empress afterwards re- 
minded her of this dream and deeply regretted that 
the Tsar had not taken counsel from Miss Eager's 
vision rather than from Philippe. 

On another occasion, Miss Eager told Mary, the 
nurse, to go and tell a certain lift-man in the Pal- 
ace that he was not to work that day as, in a dream, 
she had seen him terribly crushed and mangled, but 
Mary laughed and refused to convey the message. 
Miss Eager thought it seemed rather foolish and so 
did not insist upon sending the message to the man. 
That afternoon, when she returned from the daily 
drive with the Grand Duchesses, the Empress sent 
for her and said, "Miss Eager, this morning, you 
told Mary to warn the lift-man not to work to-day 
and Mary refused to carry your message."" Miss 
Eager said, "Yes, that is true." "Well," said the 
Empress, "I sent for you because I wanted to tell 
you myself that while you were out with the chil- 
dren, the lift-man was killed." 

Another curious incident which is hard to ex- 
plain occurred at the time of the death of Princess 
Ella, a daughter of the Grand Duke of Hesse, a 
charming child of seven years, who succumbed to 
an illness of only 36 hours' duration, — apparently 
ptomaine poisoning. The child was staying at the 
time with her Royal uncle and aunt, the Tsar 

1 66 Royal Romances of To-day 

and Tsaritsa at the Palace in Poland. While 
the child was ill, and just before her life 
spark was extinguished, two of the Russian 
Grand Duchesses, Olga and Tatiana, who were 
sleeping together in a neighbouring room, suddenly 
began to scream frantically. The Empress, the 
physicians in attendance upon Princess Ella and 
Miss Eager rushed into the room where the chil- 
dren were and saw them standing in their beds and 
shrieking in terror. It was long before they could 
be pacified and then they told how they had seen 
a strange man with flowing robes and great wings, 
walk through their room. While they were still 
telling of the fearful apparition, the eyes of both 
the children suddenly became dilated with terror 
and both of them simultaneously pointing in the 
same direction, cried, "Look! Look! There he is 
again. Don't you see him? He is going into 
Ella's room. Poor Ella! Poor Ella!" Of course, 
none of the adults could see anything and the phy- 
sicians assured the Empress that it was but an at- 
tack of childish hysteria which had suddenly and 
strangely come upon both children. Only a 
few moments later, the Empress and the physicians 
were hurriedly summoned to the bedside of the 
dying child who, lapsing into a state of coma, died 
in the Tsaritsa's arms. To this day, the Empress, 
as well as the Emperor and Miss Eager, are con- 
vinced that the children actually saw this Angel of 
Death passing into the room of the dying Princess. 
At least, it is true that there are many similar inex- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 167 

plicable cases on record of children and sometimes 
of animals, as well as of dying persons, having 
supernatural vision at moments of death. Horses, 
for example, have been known to become terror- 
stricken when passing the scene of a murder, while 
the well-known death-rap is of such common oc- 
currence that there can be no doubt of its existence. 

These incidents are related in order to explain 
much that is otherwise inexplicable in the char- 
acter of the Tsaritsa. The mental development 
which she has experienced through her entire life 
has been logical and in natural sequence. Her 
early philosophical and theological interests have 
simply been developed abnormally in the abnormal 
environment in which she has lived. While the 
Empress has been ever sceptical when conversing 
with her friends and reluctant to accept as reality, 
manifestations of the spirit world, there can be no 
doubt that both she and the Emperor have never- 
theless been secretly convinced that they are both 
instruments of God as well as possessing the power 
of holding converse with the spirit world. 

This is proved by the canonisation of Seraphim, 
the parish priest of Tambov, whose tomb they 
visited prior to the birth of the heir, Alexis 
Seraphim had been dead seventy years, but tht 
Tsar, anxious to leave no stone unturned to 
procure a son and heir, encouraged by the Tsaritsa, 
insisted upon the canonisation of Seraphim. When 
the remains of the old priest were unearthed, it 
was found that the body was badly decomposed, 

1 68 Royal Romances of To-day 

and to canonise a man whose body yields to the 
influence of decomposition is contrary to the tradi- 
tions and customs of the Church. Orthodox Bishop 
Dmitry of Tambov made bold to call attention to 
this fact and protest the canonisation of Seraphim. 
For his temerity, the Tsar, deeply angered, ordered 
that Dmitry be deprived of his see and exiled to 
Viatka. According to Emperor Nicholas, the 
preservation of bones, hair and teeth were sufficient 
qualification for saintship. Furthermore His 
Majesty was upheld in this by various sycophant 
but prophetic monks, who, with sublime assurance, 
allowed that God will one day work a miracle and 
restore Seraphim's body. So Seraphim was canon- 
ised with great pomp and ritualistic solemnity. 
If anything were needed to fasten the belief of the 
Tsar and Tsaritsa in these extreme forms of reli- 
gion it was the patent answer to their faith and 
trust in Philippe and Seraphim. 

The boy was called Alexis and he was born on 
July 30, 1904, according to the Russian calendar, 
and since that time, Tsar and Tsaritsa have been 
given more and more to spiritualistic religion. 



Of recent years, since the war with Japan and 
the revolutionary outbreak in 1905-6, few court 
functions have been held. In the ordinary daily 
routine the Tsaritsa prefers to breakfast alone, to 
lunch with only one lady-in-waiting and the Em- 
peror with but one adjutant. The dinners are like- 
wise simple as often as is possible. The older chil- 
dren are brought in for meals when there are no 
guests. The tastes of both Tsar and Tsaritsa are 
equally simple as to food and to dress. The Tsar's 
favourite uniform is that of Colonel of one of his 
regiments, except in the summer, when he fre- 
quently appears in hunting costume — an English 
Norfolk jacket, knee trousers and leggings or high 

English is the language generally used by the 
Royal Family when alone, — English and German. 
The Tsaritsa speaks Russian quite correctly, but 
with a marked German accent. This is not strange 
in view of the fact that she did not begin to study 
the language until after her betrothal. Like most 
Germans, she speaks French poorly and conse- 
quently French has never been a popular language 


170 Royal Romances of To-day 

with them, although the Tsar speaks it most ex- 
cellently well. 

Because English is used so much by the Emperor 
and Empress it is the popular language in court cir- 
cles and among officers. Many Russians send their 
children to England when they are very young 
in order that English may be their first language. 
I have known many Russians who spoke English 
absolutely perfectly; fluently and without the 
slightest trace of foreign accent. The children of 
the Tsar and Tsaritsa use English most. 

The Tsaritsa's voice is low and deep, not un- 
musical. Her laugh is light, usually breaking into 
a silvery falsetto. She is slightly taller than the 
Tsar, being about five feet eight and one-half 
inches, while he is barely five feet eight inches. 
Her face still wears an expression of soft, wistful 
beauty, which is enhanced by a small mole near the 
corner of her mouth. It is so small that it fre- 
quently is not noticed at all, but if one stands near 
her it is observed and not unpleasantly. 

Miss Eager relates an incident which reveals the 
curious stolidity not to say cold-bloodedness of the 
character of the Empress. The Empress had gone 
to the christening of a battleship at St. Petersburg 
and returned to the Palace at St. Petersburg in the 
evening. In the nursery the Empress told Miss 
Eager how the officers of the ship had been drawn 
up in line for the ceremony when a sudden thunder- 
storm had descended and a peculiarly vivid flash 
of lightning had struck a flagstaff nearby, shat- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 171 

tering as it fell and striking some of the officers. 
One man rolled right to the feet of the Empress 
and her dress had been splashed with blood. The 
Dowager Empress had fainted at this sight, but the 
Empress herself insisted that the man had died in 
the service of his country and that consequently it 
was not a matter for mourning! 

Of late years, the health of the Empress has been 
decidedly shattered. During the summer of 1910, 
the Tsar took her for a long holiday to Germany. 
She visited her childhood home of Darmstadt and 
later took a cure at a watering-place known for its 
beneficial effects upon people suffering from nerv- 
ous and heart disorders. 

During the summer of 1907 when the Imperial 
Family were holidaying on the yacht, Standart, 
off the islands of Finland, there was an attempt to 
do away with the entire family, the full details 
of which have never leaked out into the broad 
world. It is known, however, that this attempt 
was the result of a conspiracy which included some 
of the officers and men of the Royal yacht. The 
shock which the Empress sustained at that time, 
she has never recovered from and more or less sen- 
sational rumours are frequently given to the world 
suggesting the precarious condition of her mind as 
well as of her nerves. 

From this extraordinarily exclusive family life, 
which is at present the rule at Peterhof and Tsar- 
skoe-Selo (the two places where the Imperial 
Family spend most of their time) the Tsar has 

172 Royal Romances of To-day 

come to be spoken of among the Grand Dukes and 
people of the court as "The Little Married Man." 
This phrase is indicative of the supercilious way 
that family life is regarded in Russia. Americans 
are frequently horrified at the nonchalant way that 
Russian nobles flaunt their mistresses about the 
streets and public restaurants of St. Petersburg. 

The Tsar, as a young man, was probably as fast 
as any of his court, but after his marriage he settled 
down wonderfully. Whether he still has his way- 
ward periods, as gossip sometimes asserts, I do not 
know. On the whole he is a good husband and a 
fond father. He undoubtedly appreciates the tre- 
mendous love the Tsaritsa pours upon him. 

The attitude of the Tsaritsa toward the education 
of the Russian people will seem somewhat extraor- 
dinary to Americans, though after all it is prob- 
ably consistent with her life. In this, as in every- 
thing else, she accepts the attitude of her liege and 
lord, the sovereign of the Russian people. When 
a certain Count Tolstoy (not the late Leo Tolstoy) 
was Minister of Public Instruction he once ap- 
pealed to the Empress to aid him in extending the 
educational advantages of the Empire to the girls 
and young women of the country. (I have 
Count Tolstoy's own permission to relate this in- 

The Tsaritsa listened to the Minister attentively 
as he set forth the needs of Russia in this direction, 
and when he had concluded she replied that she 
thought all young girls should be taught to sew, 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 173 

to care for their homes, in short, to become helpful 
wives and good mothers, but as for granting them 
the privileges of so-called "higher education," 
knowledge of history, philosophy and the sciences 
— to this she was entirely opposed. "Because these 
studies, when offered to women, only result in 
such terrible times as Russia is now passing 

This, surely, is a remarkable tribute to the 
women of Russia, the Tsaritsa holding them re- 
sponsible for the movement toward liberty and 
freedom, as a result of their contact with educa- 
tion and culture! 

On the other hand, the Tsaritsa sometimes gener- 
ously encourages the extension of school opportuni- 
ties to individual girls whose efforts happen to have 
been brought to her attention. For example, Miss 
Eager, who for six years was governess to the little 
Grand Duchesses, and who probably saw as much 
of the Tsaritsa during those years as anyone ouside 
of the Royal Family has ever seen, relates this anec- 
dote, which I repeat with particular gladness, be- 
cause it is one of the few of the kind that I have 
heard concerning Her Majesty. 

"This story was told me by the Empress herself," 
says Miss Eager. "One morning there arrived on 
the train from the Caucasus, a little girl aged 
eleven. She approached a station porter and asked 
to be sent to the Minister of Education. The por- 
ter was greatly astonished and hesitated as to what 
he should do. Then the child said with oldish 

174 Royal Romances of To-day 

solemnity, 'I have come from the Caucasus, a seven 
days' journey, to be put to school; you must please 
get me a droshky and send me to his house.' So 
the porter called a carriage and directed that she 
be driven to the Ministry of Education. Arriving 
there she had great difficulty in gaining admission 
to the Minister, but the doorman finally consented 
to tell the Minister that a little girl from the Cau- 
casus desired to see him. 

"The Minister was occupied at the moment, with 
a Secretary of the Empress, but the latter was inter- 
ested in the message and the child was ushered into 
the office. The little girl bowed to the two digni- 
taries and proceeded to relate her case. The Min- 
ister appeared greatly amused and told the child 
she must return to her home, as he had no vacancy. 
But the little girl was persistent and soon showed 
that she had no idea of returning so easily to her 
distant home across the Empire. 'You are Minis- 
ter of Education,' she exclaimed, 'and I have come 
all the way from the Caucasus to St. Petersburg to 
be put to school. You must put me somewhere.' 
The Minister, though puzzled, was beginning to be 
impressed. At last the Empress's Secretary 
begged that the child be cared for until there was a 
vacancy in one of the schools patronised by the 
Tsaritsa. These schools are few in number and 
are very exclusive. A note was thereupon written 
by the Minister to the Mistress of one of these 
schools and the little girl was sent to her under es- 
cort of a footman. The joy of the child was un- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 175 

bounded and she could scarcely express her grati- 
tude to the Minister. 

"The Secretary went that afternoon to Peterhof 
and related the incident to the Tsaritsa herself. 
The Empress asked that an inquiry be made imme- 
diately and the truth of the child's story substanti- 
ated. The investigation showed that the two older 
sisters of the child had been admitted to a local 
school, but there was no room for her. She took 
this greatly to heart and fretted over it until at last 
she determined to get a schooling anyway. She 
appealed to friends, to the local priest and the doc- 
tor, and all of their combined efforts to reconcile 
her to the 'Will of God' proved futile. At last, to 
pacify her, they subscribed enough money for a 
ticket to the capital, and the child set forth on her 
long journey all alone. 

"When the Empress heard the story in detail, 
her heart was touched and she commanded that 
place be made for her in one of her own schools. 
The child is there to-day, receiving careful in- 
struction, and enjoying the direct patronage of the 

The Empress really loves all children, and in 
spite of the coolness which exists between her and 
her court, all children are fond of her. On the 
name day of each of her own children, she takes a 
long drive with the child whose celebration it is, 
and this event is much looked forward to by them 
all. Whatever leniency may be exercised in cor- 
recting the capricious whims of Alexis, I believe 

176 Royal Romances of To-day 

that she is a strict mother with all of her daughters. 

The Empress has few recreations. Owing to the 
fact that she rides badly she practically never rides 
for pleasure. Because of her disposition she has 
few, if any, real confidantes and intimate friends 
among the ladies of the Court. She has ladies-in- 
waiting — several hundred of them — but these are 
chiefly for formal occasions, and of her own choice 
she has but one near her at a time and different 
ladies are chosen for brief periods. Evenings she 
and the Emperor choose to retire to their private 
apartments and if she has no guests she reads aloud 
to him, not infrequently from English newspapers 
or an English novel. 

The Tsar is fond of cards. The game of wint, a 
gambling game much played all over Russia, is a 
favourite of his, and he usually plays for high 
stakes, much enjoying the zest that the gambling 
element lends to the game. The Tsaritsa, on the 
other hand, is fond of the camera, and enjoys 
photography immensely. The children have few 
playmates apart from their own family and some- 
times Royal cousins, children of one or another of 
the Grand Dukes, or one of the Royal relatives of 
their own mother or father abroad. 

The Princess Ella, daughter of the present 
Grand Duke of Hesse and brother to the Tsaritsa, 
was a playmate whom the little Russian Grand 
Duchesses adored up to the sad and untimely death 
of the German Princess. Being left most of the 
time to themselves, the children of the Tsar and 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 177 

Tsaritsa enjoy joining their mother in her pastimes 
when it is possible, and photography is one of the 
things that they all can do together. 

The Emperor has always done some shooting 
each year and is really fond of the sport. One 
morning a few summers ago he returned to the Pal- 
ace quite fatigued, having been out all night after 
blackcock. Blackcock shooting is considered right 
good sport because the birds are so shy that it is 
difficult to get near them, and indeed, it is only at 
certain times of the year that they can be shot at 
all. On the morning that I refer to the Empress 
greeted the Royal sportsman and turning to a 
friend said: "Blackcock can only be shot at the 
mating season, when the males are pouring forth 
their song in deaf and blind rapture." Could 
anything be more cruel than to kill them at such a 

In the summer the Tsaritsa is fond of sailing in 
and out among the Finnish wherries, but this an- 
nual outing is for two or three weeks only. Pre- 
vious to "Bloody Sunday" in January, 1905, the 
Winter Palace in St. Petersburg was occupied, but 
since that fateful day the two outlying palaces only 
have been used. This has been a disappointment to 
Grand Duchess Olga, who always loved the Win- 
ter Palace and often expresses the wish to "live 
there all the time." The Winter Palace is the lar- 
gest building in Europe and is a marvel in ap- 
pointments. It contains rarest malachites and jas- 
pers, rich paintings, gifts galore that have been 

178 Royal Romances of To-day 

showered upon other Tsars, priceless jewels, and 
wonderful carved furniture. Besides the great 
rooms of state, salons and banquet rooms, suites of 
residence, libraries, offices, and vast halls that are 
now used as public museums, are beautiful winter 
gardens, great conservatories rich in tropical 
plants, rare ferns and orchids, blossoming plants 
exuding fragrance, and among the forest of green- 
ery hang many cages of singing birds. In the 
centre of these winter gardens are pools of water in 
which gold fish sport, and at times pretty fountains 
play into these pools. 

Whenever I have been in this wonderful palace 
I have felt as if I were wandering through a dream 
world. Several times I have been through portions 
of this palace and each time I have felt a new thrill 
of unreality. 

The occasion of my first visit was when the Tsar 
received the members of the first Duma, the occa- 
sion when I first saw the Tsaritsa, the Dowager 
Empress and the little Grand Duchesses. The Tsar 
had commanded all of the grand dames of the 
Court to appear in full court costume, and the re- 
sult was a scene of unparalleled splendour, a spec- 
tacle imposing beyond imagination. The Throne 
Room and halls that were in use that day suggested 
scenes from the magnificent days of the Empire of 
France when beautiful women and emblazoned, 
uniformed men arrayed themselves in costumes of 
glittering splendour. The old Russian court cos- 
tumes which were worn in the Winter Palace that 






Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 179 

day were quite as splendid as any the French ever 
conceived even in the days of greatest pomp and 

On another occasion I was received at the Win- 
ter Palace by a well-known and powerful nobleman 
of the Court, who has been close to the Empress for 
many years in the dual capacity of high functionary 
and friend. He is one to whom my high thanks 
are due for some of the material contained in these 
articles, for he not only told me some of the anec- 
dotes which are here related, but he verified much 
of the material that I had collected from other 
persons and sources. 

Peterhof is the favourite residence of the Tsar- 
itsa and four of her five children were born there. 
One of the several buildings of this palace boasts 
a charming romantic history. About half a cen- 
tury ago when the first Nicholas was soon to be 
Emperor of Russia, he paid a visit to the German 
court. During the visit a tournament was held and 
Nicholas, then a Grand Duke, acquitted himself 
with honour. At the close of the tournament the 
victors rode past and close under a balcony, where 
were seated the ladies of the court and the Royal 
Family. A young Prussian Princess tossed a 
wreath of roses which the Russian Grand Duke 
caught on his sword. 

The incident proved the beginning of an attach- 
ment which culminated in their marriage. Some 
years after, when the Grand Duke had become Em- 
peror, he bought the great park of Peterhof and 

180 Royal Romances of To-day 

built a palace for his Empress. Remembering the 
incident of the wreath of roses, at the tournament 
at the Prussian court, the device of a sword and a 
wreath of roses was made the predominant decora- 
tive figure of the palace. You may see it there 
to-day. Now as then, Peterhof belongs to the rul- 
ing Empress. Tsarskoe-Selo is an Imperial resi- 
dence belonging to the government. Both of these 
palaces are within an hour of St. Petersburg. 

Any visitor may stroll through the outer gardens 
and adjoining parks of the palaces and at any time 
one may meet the Tsaritsa or the Grand Duchesses 
driving or riding. The Tsar is the only real pris- 
oner of the family, although Alexis, the four-year- 
old heir, is jealously guarded. 

The Tsaritsa rides badly. Despite the fact that 
she is commander and "honorary Colonel" of at 
least two cavalry regiments she does not sit a horse 
well and never rides for pleasure. In this respect 
she is very unlike many modern Queens, notably 
the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, who was a mar- 
vellous horsewoman, possessing that rare hypnotic 
influence over the most spirited horses that the ani- 
mals themselves are quick to recognise and yield 
to. It is only on such occasions as a review of one 
of her own regiments that the Tsaritsa mounts a 
horse. Ordinarily she drives — in summer in an 
open carriage, and generally unescorted. 

The children may from time to time be seen 
playing about the lawns with a favourite pony, or 
driving in little wicker-work carts. They are as 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 181 

full of frolic as any little girl in America, and in 
the nursery and the household apartments of the 
palaces they are as ingenuous, as irrepressible and 
often quite as embarrassing as any children we all 
know. Royal manners, at least in the children, are 
no different from manners of other people, and the 
daughters of even an Emperor and Empress have 
sometimes to be rebuked quite as severely as any 
children the world over. 

The Tsaritsa dresses very plainly. Richly often, 
but in general effect simple. The Court has never 
approved her clothes, chiefly, I think, because of 
her inability to wear good clothes well. As a child 
she dressed in the utmost simplicity and the habit 
has remained with her. At certain court functions 
etiquette prescribes her costume. When she dons 
court dress known as Old Russian, she has merely 
to wear elaborate clothes that have been described 
in detail for her generations ago. It is when she 
dons costumes for everyday wear that she fails to 
please a fastidious court. 

The average American girl very naturally thinks 
of the clothes of the Tsaritsa of Russia with a com- 
bined feeling of awe and interest, with just a little 
of envy creeping in. Imagine having all the 
money you want to spend on your clothes and being 
able to wear jewels valued at millions of dollars. 
And, of course, the American girl wants to know 
all the details of the Tsaritsa's wardrobe, and how 
many hats and dresses she has each season, and how 
much they cost. 

1 82 Royal Romances of To-day- 

It may be a disappointing fact, but it is never- 
theless true, that the Tsaritsa just hates the thought 
of clothes, and though her costumes are of expen- 
sive fabrics, they never have any chic individuality 
of their own, for the very good reason that she 
cares so little about them. Of course, she does her 
shopping in Paris, but she does it by proxy. One 
of the Ladies-in-Waiting is commissioned to buy 
each season her gowns and her hats and all the 
other little details appropriate for a Tsaritsa's 
wardrobe, in Paris, but many times when they 
reach the Tsaritsa, she discards them with the ex- 
pression, "Indeed, that is perfectly lovely and very 
Frenchy, but it would never do for me at all." 

The corsetiere in Paris who makes the Tsar- 
itsa's stays has troubles of her own, for the Tsaritsa 
utterly refuses to change her figure to suit the ever- 
changing modes. Her waist is growing large of 
late, according to the Parisian idea of a fashionable 
figure, but this doesn't trouble the Tsaritsa as much 
as it would trouble many women in America. 

For everyday wear her gowns are all of the 
plainest, but, of course, there are occasions when 
she must wear regal robes. Her court costume is 
a magnificent creation of the richest satin elabo- 
rately trimmed with heavy embroidery. Masses of 
the embroidery are used, while the corsage is laden 
with jewelled trimming. The buttons which trim 
this court costume are each one of them worth a 
small fortune. They consist of a large pearl in a 
wonderfully artistic setting. The Tsaritsa's pearls, 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 183 

which she wears with her court costume are famous 
the world over. 

It is no wonder she has all of these magnificent 
things, for in addition to the hundreds of thousands 
of dollars' worth of gifts that she has herself re- 
ceived from her subjects and from fabulously rich 
kings, princes and potentates of the East and Cen- 
tral Asia, she has at her disposal jewels that belong 
to the Russian Crown — gifts to other Empresses, 
and Emperors, far back, perhaps for several hun- 
dred years. 

Sometimes she wears drop-earrings of matched 
pearls, which are marvellously valuable, and her 
dog collar and necklace and corsage pin, also of 
pearls, have a value of millions of dollars. The 
Tsaritsa is always glad when the time comes for 
her to take off her court costume. The long, 
heavy train is a burden to her. She is very partial 
to light-in-weight gowns. 

Many of her dresses are of the lingerie order, 
consisting of lace and fine nainsook. 

Yet, on the other hand, she has many house 
gowns and cloaks of velvet, trimmed with rare 
laces. Perhaps, of all her jewels, she cares most 
for a long string of wonderful pearls, which she 
wears very often. The string is so long that she 
can wear it twice around her neck, and yet have the 
longest loop reach to her knees. The short loop 
comes to the waistline, and is finished with one 
single pear-shaped pearl of enormous value. 

All the children's clothes are made according to 

184 Royal Romances of To-day 

the Tsaritsa's idea, and simplicity is their key-note. 
The children are very apt to wear white entirely, 
and the four little girls are dressed exactly alike. 
Their hair is arranged in the same way, too, 
brushed straight back from their foreheads. Of 
course, the finest of materials is used in making 
their clothes, but the design is always extremely 
simple. Their christening costumes were all made 
alike, even the small boy's this time. They were 
of the sheerest of white mull with exquisitely fine 
lace insertions. The little dresses had short sleeves 
and were cut out round at the neck, and tied on the 
shoulders with white ribbon, having long, silk 
fringe. The shoulder bows were the dress-up 
touch, the touch which is so seldom seen in any of 
the costumes worn by the Tsaritsa's children. 

The young man of the family is also usually 
dressed in white, and though his little Russian suits 
come from Paris, they are strictly plain in design, 
generally of heavy white linen, and trimmed with 
bands of embroidery. 

All these little details may be commonplace, but 
they are perhaps all important when we are trying 
to analyse the character of the Tsaritsa through her 



The effect of the war upon the children of the 
Tsaritsa caused much pain to their gentle English 
governess, Miss Eager, who relates the following 
experience: "It was very sad to witness the wrath- 
ful, vindictive spirit that the war raised in my little 
charges. One of the illustrated papers had a pic- 
ture of the baby children of the Crown Prince of 
Japan. Marie and Anastasie came running across 
to see the picture, and wanted to know who those 
queer little children were. I told them, and with a 
look of hatred coming into her sweet face Marie 
slapped the picture with her open hand. 'Horrid 
little people,' said she; 'they came and destroyed 
our poor ships and drowned our sailors.' " Miss 
Eager then explained to the little Grand Duchess 
that it was not these children who had done this 
terrible thing, because they were only babies and 
could not possibly fight. But Marie answered ob- 
stinately, "Yes; those little babies did it. 
Mamma told me the Japs were all only little peo- 

Olga, as usual, was yet more bitter toward the 
Japanese. One day she opened up vituperatively: 
"I hope the Russian soldiers will kill all of the 


1 86 Royal Romances of To-day 

Japanese; not leave even one alive." Her teacher 
tried to explain that there were many little children 
and women in Japan, who had nothing whatever 
to do with the war and could not fight under any 
circumstances. Would it be good, she asked of 
Olga, for the Russian soldiers to kill these too? 
The child was thoughtful for a moment, then 
asked : "Have they an Emperor in Japan?" "Yes, 
certainly," the teacher answered. Olga then asked 
several more questions, and finally remarked: "I 
did not know that the Japs were people like our- 
selves. I thought they were only like monkeys." 

Olga, like so many children, who are the oldest 
in a family, has always been a handful. About 
Marie, and Anastasie, and Tatiana too, for that 
matter, are many pretty little stories of charming 
childish ways, but almost every anecdote I heard of 
Olga was when she had been up to some mischief, 
or disobedient, or stubborn, or quick of temper. 
One or two of these stories, however, are interesting 
and show that even the mother task of an Empress's 
life is very much like every mother's life, and espe- 
cially in the case of the Tsaritsa who has ever un- 
dertaken so much more personal care of her chil- 
dren than most Queens — and one may even say, 
than many mothers right here in this land. 

One day, before the outbreak of the war, when 
Olga was quite a little girl, she was taken for a 
drive with her nurse along the Nevsky Prospect, 
the principal street in St. Petersburg. The little 
Grand Duchess simply would not behave. She 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 187 

was continually jumping up and attracting the at- 
tention of people along the streets, and as it was 
that time in the afternoon when the Nevsky is 
crowded, this meant pretty much the attention of 
all St. Petersburg. 

Suddenly the child dropped back into her seat 
and sat bolt upright as quiet as you please, her 
hands folded demurely in her lap. After a mo- 
ment she turned to her nurse and said: "Did you 
see that policeman?" The nurse replied she 
had, but there was nothing extraordinary about a 
policeman on the street. "But this one was writing 
something," pursued Olga. "I am afraid he was 
writing, 'I saw Olga and she was very naughty.' " 

When the nurse replied that this was unlikely 
Olga reminded her, somewhat reproachfully, that 
a few days before they had seen a policeman arrest- 
ing a woman who was under the influence of liquor, 
and when Olga had begged that the woman be let 
off the nurse had replied that the woman had been 
very naughty and deserved to be arrested, adding 
that one had to be very naughty indeed to be taken 
off by the policeman in that way. 

The incident evidently made a deep impression 
upon the child, for no sooner had they got back to 
the Palace than Olga began to inquire if any po- 
liceman had been there for her. As soon as she 
could, she related the whole affair to the Tsar and 
the Tsaritsa and ended by asking her father if he 
had ever been arrested. The Emperor laughed 
and said he had never been quite naughty enough 

1 88 Royal Romances of To-day 

for that, to which Olga exclaimed : "Oh! how very 
good you must always have been!" 

A little while before this Olga had been naughty 
all day and her nurse said to her: "I am afraid 
you got out of bed with the wrong foot foremost 
this morning." Olga looked thoughtful for a mo- 
ment but said nothing. The next morning, before 
getting out of bed she called to her nurse to ask 
which was the right foot for her to get out with. 
The nurse indicated one of her feet and Olga 
slowly descended upon it. "Now," she said, "that 
bad foot won't be able to make me naughty to-day." 
And all day, whenever Olga started to do things 
she ought not to do, the nurse had only to remind 
her that she had got out of bed with her right foot 
that morning, therefore she couldn't be contrary. 

Tatiana's next youngest sister, the Grand Duch- 
ess Marie, one day caused a ripple of amuse- 
ment in the same Winter Palace. She was looking 
out of one of the windows when a regiment of 
soldiers marched past, through the magnificent 
Winter Palace Square over which a colossal Angel 
of Peace broods, perched on a towering marble 
column. Suddenly Marie exclaimed, "Oh! I love 
these dear soldiers ; I should like to kiss them all !" 

One of the family who was standing near over- 
heard the child's remark and said: "Marie, nice 
little girls don't kiss soldiers." 

Marie made no reply, but a little later there was 
a children's party at the Palace, and among the 
guests were the children of the Grand Duke Con- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 189 

stantine. One of the boys, aged twelve, had just 
entered in the military school where high noble- 
men's sons are trained for the army — the Corps de 
Pages. This miniature officer arrived in his brand 
new uniform and as he met his cousin Marie he 
made to kiss her. But Marie sprang away, cover- 
ing her mouth with her hand. "Go away, soldier," 
she cried. "I don't kiss soldiers — nice little girls 
don't kiss soldiers." 

Her cousin was so well pleased at being taken 
for a real soldier that he readily forgave his digni- 
fied little cousin for declining his proffered kiss. 

Tatiana and Marie have always been sweet chil- 
dren, and, on the whole even tempered if mischiev- 
ous. Olga, however, the eldest, has never been so 
popular. In 1899, when Olga was four years old 
the Royal Family (which then included only three 
children), went to Moscow for a brief sojourn. 
While there the Empress decided to have portraits 
painted of the three children. 

The artist who was entrusted with this commis- 
sion began to take innumerable photographs of 
them all. This was preliminary to the sittings. 
The sittings proved tedious and tiresome and after 
the fourth or fifth sitting Grand Duchess Olga 
quite lost her patience and her temper, and at last 
exclaimed to the artist: "You are a very ugly man 
and I don't like you a bit." 

To the amusement of several members of the Im- 
perial Household the artist was much hurt by this 
Royal comment, and offended as well. He even 

190 Royal Romances of To-day 

ventured to resent the child's outburst. "You are 
the first lady who has ever said I was ugly, and 
moreover, I'm not a man — I'm a gentleman," he re- 

Ladies of the Court were always loath to talk 
about Olga. "She is cranky," said one. "She is 
not nice," said another. And one grand lady of 
honour went so far as to shrug her shoulders and 
say: "She is like her mother!" When I pressed 
this and begged her tell me more, the lady merely 
referred to the haughty, disdainful manner of the 
Empress. I think I have explained this attitude 
as I have understood it. 

The Empress received very little sympathy and 
consideration from the ladies of her Court from 
her first coming to Russia, and she soon came to 
hold her head high and walk heedless through the 
throng. She apparently gave no effort to winning 
friends but accepted the atmosphere which circum- 
stances and an obstinate Court created for her. 
Perhaps the consciousness of her lack of popu- 
larity wore upon her, and rasped. That wide 
popularity of the Dowager Empress, and her lack 
of cordiality toward her young successor doubtless 
tended to further develop the very qualities that 
have been her bane. At all events her disposition 
toward most of the people of her Court has never 
been happy, and their silent resentment of her cool- 
ness has driven her more and more into herself, to 
the consolations of religion, and her family. 

One Lady-in-Waiting, for example, told me that 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 191 

she had been attached to the person of the Empress 
from time to time for a number of years. She her- 
self is a Princess of old family and in excellent 
standing at Court. One day, when the Grand 
Duchess Olga was three years old the Princess and 
the child were together in one of the nursery rooms. 
The Princess stood with her back to one of the 
walls and Olga came toddling across the room as 
fast as her little legs would carry her. The Prin- 
cess stretched out her arms, caught up the child and 
lightly tossed her ceilingwards, then bringing her 
slowly down toward her own upturned face, kissed 
her and set her down. At that moment the Em- 
press entered the room. She had no sooner seen 
this very natural action on the part of her own 
Lady-in-Waiting than she exclaimed: "The most 
you may do is to kiss the hand of my daughter!" 

St. Petersburg is full of similar gossiping inci- 
dents concerning the Empress. Many of them are 
doubtless fabricated, as many such anecdotes al- 
ways are concerning people who occupy conspicu- 
ous positions in the world, but the one I have just 
related is true, and all of these anecdotes possess 
the virtue that they are likely — that they may be 

One concluding anecdote of the Grand Duchess 
Olga is vouched for. One day a professor from 
Moscow was giving the Grand Duchess Olga a 
lesson in history. A Lady-in-Waiting was sitting 
by, as usual, to insure that no dangerous doctrines 
are taught. Suddenly Olga looked up at her 

192 Royal Romances of To-day 

teacher and asked: "Who is Emperor of France?" 
The professor felt that this was an embarrassing 
question, for it was as yet far too early to undertake 
the explanation of a republican system of govern- 
ment. The Lady-in-Waiting, however, was equal 
to the occasion, for seeing the embarrassment of 
the professor, she answered, "In France the Em- 
peror is called President!" 



The Grand Duke Vladimir was wont to call the 
Grand Duchess Marie "The Amiable Baby," and 
from all accounts she is more like what her mother 
was in babyhood than any of the children. Be- 
tween her and her older sister Olga is a world of 
difference. If half the stories about her are true 
she is indeed the personification of sweetness and 

Whooping cough attacked the whole nursery one 
spring. Curiously enough the Empress came 
down first and it quickly spread to all of the chil- 
dren. Even the nurses caught it. One day one of 
the nurses was holding the baby, Anastasie, on her 
lap. The little thing was coughing and choking 
toward the whoop of relief when Marie ran up 
close to her, and putting her face close up to her 
little sister's said: "Baby, darling, cough on me." 
The nurse asked her why she desired that and she 
answered : "I am so sorry to see my dear little sister 
so ill, and I thought if I could take it from her she 
would be better." A charmingly generous im- 
pulse, surely! 

Marie is so frequently held up as a model and an 
example to the other three sisters that she has been 


194 Royal Romances of To-day 

nicknamed the "stepsister." Her amiability and 
sweetness are so marked that her sisters are ready to 
admit that she cannot be more than half one of 

There is a pretty little story current of a nursery 
incident which occurred one afternoon when the 
little Grand Duchesses were playing house by pil- 
ing up chairs. The other sisters entered into a 
conspiracy against Marie. "You were to be the 
footman and wait outside," they told her. Marie 
was quite willing to be footman, but she protested 
against leaving the nursery and standing all by her- 
self in the hall. But the others pushed her out 
and it looked as if poor little Marie would have to 
submit. Suddenly she dashed into the nursery, her 
arms filled with toys and dolls' dresses. Rush- 
ing up to her sisters she dealt each a slap and 
cried out: "I'll not be a footman. I'll be the 
kind, good aunt who brings presents to the chil- 

She then proceeded to distribute her gifts, kissed 
each of her "nieces" and sat down. The other chil- 
dren looked sheepishly at one another, and at last 
Tatiana said: "We are too cruel to poor little 
Marie, she really couldn't help whipping us." 
And after that Marie played with the others in the 

The children are frequently admitted to where 
their parents are at tea time, but they are not sup- 
posed to touch any of the cakes that are served to 
the older people. It is difficult to prevent this 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 195 

always, for like all children, they want to sample 
the good things they see. 

One day, when no one was noticing Marie par- 
ticularly, she helped herself to some cake and be- 
gan to gobble it down as fast as she could. With 
her mouth still full, she looked up at the nurse who 
came to take her and said: "Dere! I've eaten it all 
up. You tant det it now." 

The Empress felt that Marie should be punished 
for this, so nurse was told to take her off to bed. 
But the Emperor intervened, saying that he had 
always feared Marie would be growing wings and 
he was glad to see that she was only a human child 
after all! 

I remember one occasion when the Tsaritsa was 
covered with confusion by the little Grand Duchess 
Tatiana. The Crown Prince of Siam was visiting 
St. Petersburg and during part of his stay, he was 
a guest of the Emperor and Empress, who were 
then occupying the Winter Palace. The dusky 
Prince went to pay his respects to the nursery. The 
Empress herself accompanied him to present the 

On the way they met Tatiana and the Empress 
called to her second daughter: "Come, Tatiana, 
and shake hands with this gentleman." Tatiana 
held off shyly, looking askance and with manifest 
disapproval upon the brown-skinned potentate 
from Siam. At last she exclaimed: "That is not a 
gentleman, mamma; that's a monkey!" 

The Empress flushed with mortification and re- 

196 Royal Romances of To-day 

torted: "You are a monkey yourself, Tatiana." 
The Prince laughed heartily at the incident and 
before the end of the visit of his Imperial Highness 
to Petersburg, he and Tatiana became fast friends. 

Tatiana has always been a bright child, with an 
amusing, alert mind. One day she and her Eng- 
lish governess were walking in the garden of the 
Winter Palace, when one of the Emperor's beauti- 
ful great collie dogs came bounding along the path 
behind them. With a puppy-like caprice the dog 
jumped on Tatiana's back and threw her down. 
As the little Grand Duchess clambered to her feet, 
the dog gamboled off down the path in a mad 
frolic with another dog. Tatiana was not hurt, 
but considerably frightened, and after gazing after 
the dogs for a moment in silence, great salt tears 
began to drop down her cheeks. The governess 
tried to comfort her by saying "Poor Sheilka, she 
did not mean to hurt you; she only wanted to say 
'good morning' to you." 

Tatiana looked up at her governess and quickly 
replied : "Was that all? Then I don't think she is 
very polite; she should have said it to my face, not 
to my back." 

The Grand Duchess Tatiana is one of the sweet- 
est of children. One day when she was being got 
ready to go out, the governess went to get her coat 
to go with them. When she returned, the nurse, 
Mary, was shaking Tatiana. "How dare you shake 
Tatiana?" Miss Eager exclaimed. "You are paid 
to take care of her, — not to correct her." "She is 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 197 

paid?" said Tatiana in surprise. "Yes," the gover- 
ness replied, "She is paid and I, also, am paid," at 
which Tatiana put her head on the shoulder of the 
governess and cried. "You have seen me get my 
money every month," said the governess. "I al- 
ways thought it was a present to you," the child 
said. The governess then explained that it was 
necessary that she be paid, as she had no money of 
her own and that her way of earning money was 
looking after the Royal children. The next morn- 
ing when the governess awoke, Tatiana was stand- 
ing by her bedside and she said, "May I get into 
your bed?" As the little Grand Duchess cuddled 
down in the arms of her governess, she exclaimed, 
"Anyway, you are not paid for this." 

Another day, as the Royal nursery was going to 
the beach at Livadia after a terrible storm, the 
Grand Duchess Olga picked up a little dead bird 
which had fallen on the grass and said, "I will keep 
this poor, little bird forever." The governess did 
not interfere but watched Olga carry it, followed 
by Tatiana who was sympathetically interested. 
The governess wondered how long the children 
would carry this bird before getting tired of it. 
Presently, Olga said, "Perhaps I am doing wrong 
to take this little bird away because even at this 
moment, God may have sent an angel for the bird 
and what if it is not there? I am going to put it 
back." Whereupon, she retraced her steps to the 
spot where she had found it. The next day they 
were going to the beach again and they took the 

198 Royal Romances of To-day 

same path as on the previous day in order to look 
for the bird. When they arrived at the spot where 
Olga had found and replaced it, the bird was gone. 
"Suppose we had taken it away!" said Olga. 
"Then God's angel could not have found it." 
"Oh," replied Tatiana, "I think it would have been 
perfectly lovely if He had taken it out of our 

Anastasie has always enjoyed the reputation 
of being the most mischievous of all the chil- 
dren. One year, when the Dowager Empress 
was about to celebrate her birthday, all of the 
Imperial children were arranging their gifts 
for their grandmother. Anastasie, for reasons 
of her own, determined not to take any part 
in these arrangements or to select any gift for her 
grandmother. She refused even to learn a piece 
of poetry to recite to her as all the other children 
did. "At all events, she will take grandmamma a 
bouquet of lilies of the valley tied with a bow of 
mauve ribbon?" "O yes, I will gather a bouquet 
in the morning," replied Anastasie. The follow- 
ing day, all the children were dressed to go into 
the carriage to offer their congratulations to the 
Dowager Empress. Anastasie alone, appeared 
with empty hands. "I thought we were going to 
walk so that I could gather some wild flowers for 
grandma ; now I shall have none." "When people 
go to offer congratulations, they go in carriages," 
their governess explained. Anastasie thereupon 
went to the cupboard and took a little toy from it. 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 199 

When the nursery arrived at the Palace, the other 
children gave their grandmother gifts and recited 
their pieces of poetry until it came Anastasie's turn 
when she hung her head and all the other children 
turned away with shame and chagrin for their sis- 
ter. "Have you nothing for grandma?" the Em- 
press Dowager said. "Yes, I have brought this, 
Grandma," Anastasie replied. "But have you 
made nothing for me with your own little hands?" 
"Nothing, Grandma," was the answer. "Well, 
dear, you are a very little child," said the Empress 
Dowager, "but perhaps you have learned a piece 
of poetry to say to me." Anastasie looked more 
chagrined than ever, but, unwilling to confess her 
negligence, thought to deceive the Empress Dow- 
ager by repeating the following lines: 

I have a pretty doll, 

Her name is Miss Rose, 
She has two pretty blue eyes, 

And a very small nose. 
She can't stand long, 

On her tiny little toes, 
She just makes a curtsy, 

And then, off she goes. 

"That is very pretty," said the Empress, "but 
isn't that what you said to your mother last week?" 
Anastasie couldn't stand it any longer and fled from 
the room and burst into tears, but presently she 
went back to her grandma to tell her how sorry 
she was and to beg her forgiveness. The Empress 
accepted the child's apology very sweetly, but told 

200 Royal Romances of To-day 

her that she could not give her the bonbon like the 
one she had given to all the other children. 

Anastasie, one day, climbed onto the nursery 
table and jumped off. The governess said, "You 
must not do that; it is too high; you can jump off 
the sofa if you want to jump, but not off the table." 
Paying no heed to what had been said to her, Anas- 
tasie again climbed on the table and jumped off. 
So her governess gently slapped her. Anastasie sat 
down and thought a moment, then said, "It is not 
nice to get a slap, but it is better to climb on the 
table and get a slap than to jump off the sofa and 
not get a slap," and she promptly climbed on the 
table once more and jumped again. The gover- 
ness then tied her in a chair with a sash. Anastasie 
did not like this so she said, "It is better to climb 
on the table and get a slap but it is better not to 
climb on the table than to be tied in a chair like 

The Emperor was with the children one day 
when Anastasie, in a burst of temper, slapped 
Tatiana on the face. The Emperor promptly sent 
for the nursery governess and told her to take 
Anastasie upstairs and make her hear reason. 
When the governess had Anastasie alone, she said, 
"Aren't you ashamed of yourself to slap your sis- 
ter?" "I am not ashamed at all," replied Anasta- 
sie, "because I did not really hurt Tatiana." "But 
you hurt Tatiana's feelings," the governess told her, 
"and you hurt your father's feelings." "I did not 
hurt Tatiana so I won't say 'I am sorry' to her but 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 201 

I am sorry I hurted poor daddy's feelings," and she 
proceeded to go and tell her father how sorry she 
felt. The governess allowed her to go downstairs. 
Anastasie went directly to the Tsar and said: 
"Daddy, I am sorry I hurted your feelings," but to 
Tatiana she would not say a word. After a mo- 
ment, however, she suddenly threw her arms 
around her sister's neck and kissed her. 

Anastasie had long wanted a cat for a pet. In 
the garden near Peterhof, where the Royal Family 
were staying for the annual manoeuvres, the nur- 
sery, one day, found a cat following the gardener. 
Anastasie promptly said, "Sir, will you please give 
me your cat?" "You may have the cat if you can 
keep it," the gardener replied. Anastasie took the 
cat home, buttered its feet and shut it up in one of 
the rooms. When she went to look for her cat, she 
found it had escaped through the chimney. The 
next day, Anastasie went again to the garden and, 
seeking out the gardener, said, "You said I might 
have the cat and I took it home but she ran away." 
"No," said the gardener, "I said you might have 
the cat if you could keep it." Anastasie begged 
him to give her the cat again and to tell the cat 
that she was to stay with her, but the gardener was 
reluctant to give up 'his pet and so a kitten had 
to be found for Anastasie elsewhere. 

One spring, the nursery was taken to an orchard 
near the Palace to pick apples, and, as a reward, 
they were promised some baked apples with their 
tea. When the baskets were filled, the apples were 

202 Royal Romances of To-day 

sent to the Palace and the children were taken off 
to listen to a military band. While the band was 
playing, Anastasie suddenly produced an apple 
which she had hidden and began to eat it. The 
governess took it away from her and told her not 
to eat it, as it would make her ill. A few moments 
later, she produced another, and said to her gover- 
ness, "If you take this apple away from me, I will 
scream and then the people will all think you are 
wicked to me." So the governess said, "Anastasie, 
as sure as you eat that apple, you will be punished 
when you get home." Anastasie was not fright- 
ened by the threat and calmly proceeded to eat the 
apple. When the nursery returned to the Palace, 
Anastasie was put straight to bed and at tea time, 
all the other children had baked apples but none 
was given her. The other children thought to 
tease her by asking her if she did not want some 
of their lovely baked apples. "No, indeed," re- 
marked Anastasie, "because you don't know how 
good that apple was that I had in the garden." 
The next day, Anastasie wanted again to be taken 
to the orchard, but the governess took her some- 
where where she did not want to go. Looking out 
of the carriage window, Anastasie said, "It is very 
lovely here; I am enjoying myself much more than 
in the orchard." The following day, she again 
asked to be taken to the orchard. Her governess 
asked her why she wanted to be taken there again 
and Anastasie, throwing her arms around the gov- 
erness's neck, said : "Because it was such fun eating 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 203 

that apple." Several days later, Tatiana said, "It 
is too bad because Anastasie was naughty that we 
cannot go to the orchard." The governess said, 
"Until Anastasie is good and will promise not to 
eat any more apples you cannot go." It was nearly 
a week after that before Anastasie's stubbornness 
was subdued and she promised to eat no more 
apples if the nursery might only go and play in the 

From these stories, it will be seen that Anastasie 
is most like her Imperial father whose traditional 
stubbornness of character is well known. 



ALEXIS, son and heir of Tsar Nicholas II and 
Tsaritsa Alexandra Feodorovna, was born July 
30th (Russian style), 1904. When he was about 
an hour old, he was made honorary commander of 
six regiments of the Russian army. 

When he was twelve days old he was taken to 
the Royal chapel at Peterhof in a gilded coach 
drawn by eight horses and christened. The name 
he bears, interpreted, means "Bringer of Peace." 
Yet at this time the Tsaritsa said: "We are bound 
to hand over to our son an Autocracy such as we 
ourselves received." 

Here is one of the curious phases of her char- 
acter. Born of an English mother, reared in Ger- 
many where at least the idea of a constitutional 
monarchy is accepted, she yet opposes the least step 
toward reform and progress in Russia, if it inter- 
feres with or threatens Autocracy. She acquiesces 
in the naming of her son "Bringer of Peace" at a 
time when nearly the whole nation is aspiring to 
freedom and almost ready to rise up in general 
revolution to fight for a constitution! It would 
seem that in this as in so many other things she 
learned to conform with the will of the Tsar, who 


Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 205 

is her sole liege. The Tsar, two years later, said 
in private conversation to a friend of mine: "I be- 
lieve Russia can go for twenty years more without 
a constitution." 

As the Tsar speaks, so thinks the Tsaritsa. 
Whether this is one of the tragedies of her life, or 
whether it is her supreme sacrifice, one cannot 
judge. The fact remains, that every thought, every 
particle of her own ego has been put aside that she 
may be more completely the wife of her husband. 

The little Alexis was started in life with a goodly 
array of godfathers and godmothers. Among the 
former were the King of England, the King of 
Denmark, the Emperor of Germany, and various 
Grand Dukes, uncles of the Tsar. During the 
baptismal service the baby Tsarevitch, when he was 
being anointed, raised a tiny pink hand and ex- 
tended his fingers as if he were pronouncing a bene- 
diction or bestowing a blessing. And all the peo- 
ple present accepted this as a good omen of future 
blessings to come from the Heir to the Throne. 

The training of a young Tsar does not conform 
with American ideas of training a child, for very 
largely the Tsarevitch is encouraged to do every- 
thing he is inclined to do on the theory that the 
instincts and impulses of an Autocrat must be 

During the summer of 1907 I was in Finland 
when the Royal Family were cruising along the 
picturesque Finnish coast in the Royal Yacht Stan- 
dart, and I gathered various stories of Alexis from 

206 Royal Romances of To-day- 

sailors and officers of the ship. On this cruise 
Alexis was the Emperor's adjutant, and by way of 
training, this three-year-old was placed in com- 
mand of the squadron, that is to say, the Royal 
Yacht and the accompanying pilot boat, gunboats 
and other vessels that make up a Royal fleet when 
the Imperial Family goes for a summer outing. 

One night in August when the air was still and 
warm, Alexis had difficulty in falling asleep. Sud- 
denly he sat up in his little bed and announced that 
he desired the ship's band to come and play for 
him. The officer on duty explained that the hour 
was late and the band had retired, whereupon 
Alexis grew furious and commanded that the band 
be aroused and brought to him immediately, which 
was done. The Tsar on this occasion was inordi- 
nately pleased and exclaimed: "That's the way to 
bring up an Autocrat!" 

On another occasion Alexis ordered all the Fin- 
nish pilots on the various ships to be brought before 
him. As the astonished and wondering Finns ap- 
peared on the deck of the Standart the baby com- 
mander shouted: "Zdorovo rebyata!" (Health chil- 
dren!) The Finns, not understanding Russian, 
were much bewildered and frightened, and Alexis, 
became exceedingly annoyed at their not under- 
standing. So the Finns were hurriedly taught to 
respond: "Zdravie zhelayem vashe Imperator- 
skoye Vysochestvo" — ("We wish you health, your 
Imperial Highness.") 

The sailor who acts as orderly to the Tsare- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 207 

vitch on the Standart is called Stefan. He is 
of huge physique and is in attendance on the 
autocrat-in-process day and night. Up to the 
present time, Alexis has shown a greater fond- 
ness for this man than for anyone else. He 
insists upon his "big Stefan" taking part in 
nearly all of his games and it is quite clear that he 
considers Stefan as second only to his father in all 
the vast Empire. Morning and night, little Alexis 
in his prayers remembers Stefan but even Stefan 
has not been able to break his young charge of a 
certain military tendency which shows itself at the 
end of each of his prayers in a loud "hurrah" in- 
stead of an "Amen." Alexis is perfectly logical in 
this, for he says that the soldiers on parade always 
cry "Hurrah" when his father appears or when he 
ceases speaking and, consequently, it is right that 
his Heavenly Father should be greeted in the same 

Early in the year 1909, the Emperor of 
China despatched a special embassy, headed by 
one of the Princes of the Royal Family in China, 
to St. Petersburg for the express purpose of 
conveying to the Tsarevitch Alexis a collection of 
wonderful Chinese toys. The Embassy also 
brought with it two wonderfully trained dwarf 
elephants. This embassy was sent in acknowledg- 
ment of a similar embassy which the Emperor of 
Russia had sent to China some time before convey- 
ing to the boy-Emperor of 400,000,000 of people, a 
toy railroad said to have cost more than fifty thou- 

208 Royal Romances of To-day 

sand dollars and many elaborate and ingenious toys 
of Russian design. This toy railroad was similar 
to one that President Fallieres of France had pre- 
sented to the Tsarevitch on the occasion of his visit 
to the Russian Imperial family. This gift had 
pleased the Tsarevitch hugely and he immediately 
nicknamed the French president, "The train- 
man." The Tsarevitch, like the Royal children of 
Spain, has frequently been maligned in the Press 
of Europe and reported as being defective men- 
tally. These stories, of course, are all nonsense, 
for, like the Spanish Princes, he is a sturdy, whole- 
some boy in every respect and takes the keenest in- 
terest not only in all the wonderful toys that are 
sent him by kings, emperors and eastern potentates 
but also in childish sports and games. 

That Alexis has a mind of his own and a pretty 
keen one at that is illustrated in a story that the 
Tsar himself has repeated. It appears that one 
day, the Emperor was engaged with a council of 
Ministers when the little Alexis suddenly burst 
into the Cabinet room. Surprised at seeing his 
father surrounded by so large a group of digni- 
taries, he stopped and looked at them for a moment, 
then quietly said : "Good morning, brothers." The 
Emperor proceeded to point out to the Tsarevitch 
that it was not adequately respectful for so small 
a boy to address elderly gentlemen as "brothers." 
Alexis appeared a little embarrassed and with an 
obvious desire to correct his mistake, he said, "Very 
well ; good morning, boys." 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 209 

Probably no heir in Europe is being trained with 
greater care than young Alexis, for, unless some- 
thing unforeseen occurs, he will one day be the 
ruler over 150,000,000 of people and, according to 
the will and wish of his father, he will perpetuate 
the traditions of the Tsars of old and rule the vast 
kingdom with all the rigid severity which has char- 
acterised the autocratic Tsars of Russia. 



The Tsaritsa's life has been lived out on the 
plane of the family, not of the Empress. She 
might have swayed vast power, she might have 
liberated or helped to liberate one hundred and 
forty millions of people from oppression and 
tyranny; and her name would have been en- 
shrined in all hearts for generations. But she 
has chosen an humbler part. She has shrunk 
from the larger burdens of the opportunities pre- 
sented to her, and accepted the quieter tasks of the 
home. This much we may say, it is a tragedy that 
circumstances have prevented her carrying both 
parts. But to have been the great Empress, she 
would have been obliged to sacrifice her love to a 
degree. Nicholas doubtless cares tremendously 
for her, but a man never loves as a woman loves. 
For a woman's joy is sacrifice, and the sacrifice of 
ambitions, of personal hopes and dreams, of ideas, 
of principles, is the greatest of all sacrifices. In 
proving herself the absolutely loving and loyal 
wife the Tsaritsa turned her back upon the oppor- 
tunities fate gave her for moulding history by 
ameliorating the condition of humanity in her own 
vast sphere. 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 211 

The Tsar must understand the attitude of the 
Court toward the Empress and the fact that she is 
not popular doubtless makes him endeavour the 
more to make their own little family circle happy. 
For after all, the really exclusive circle of an Em- 
peror and his Empress and their children is very, 
very small. 

In August 1907 when the Tsar returned from his 
meeting with the Kaiser at Swinemunde, the Tsar- 
itsa went to greet him far down the Gulf of 
Finland in a Royal Yacht. Court etiquette 
merely required that she meet him at the pier 
upon his landing, and this effort of hers caused 
a good deal of comment at the capital and was 
accepted as another evidence of her love for 

When the Tsar promised the nation a constitu- 
tion — and a parliament — all might have been well 
had these promises been literally carried out. No 
sooner had the waves of revolutionary activity sub- 
sided, however, than the Emperor began to with- 
draw and nullify his honeyed promises and to take 
back piecemeal the constitution which had been 
granted in a moment of panic. Now the people 
feel that Russia will not have a real constitution 
nor a real parliament for years to come unless these 
institutions of liberalism and progress and civilisa- 
tion are battled for. The government by main- 
taining a watchful grip on the country, by ex- 
traordinary vigilance, by arresting or exiling thou- 
sands upon thousands of citizens, women and girls 

212 Royal Romances of To-day 

just as frequently as men, it is able to preserve a 
certain surface calm. 

Of late public opinion in Russia, like public 
opinion in other countries, has been altering to- 
ward the Tsar. He is no longer the "weak," "well 
meaning little man," who is prevented from doing 
what he believes to be right by wicked Grand 
Dukes, bad ministers and a corrupt court. If he 
is ever "led" we know now that it is only in direc- 
tions in which he desires to go. If his ministers 
are "bad," or the Grand Dukes "wicked," we know 
that the inclinations and ambitions of Nicholas II 
are toward Reaction, and that he aspires, in the 
words of the Tsaritsa, to "hand on to his successor 
an Autocracy such as he received." 

We know, too, that however much local police 
and other officials may be directly responsible for 
a policy which uses massacre as a political weapon 
that the Tsar himself is not opposed to these 
methods, and that he directly patronises and en- 
courages the "League of Russian men," popularly 
called "The Black Hundred." We know that the 
Tsaritsa, likewise, contributes money to support 
this organisation. This is the organisation that 
carries out the pogroms and the policy of govern- 
mental terrorism. In view of these (now) unques- 
tioned facts, it seems passing strange that the Tsar 
has not sooner fallen a martyr to his own despotism. 
Scores of governors, generals, and other officials 
have paid the penalty for their misdeeds, but the 
Tsar has thus far been spared. 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 213 

There are good reasons for this, however. In 
the first place the person of the Tsar is constantly 
guarded, and to such an extent that it would doubt- 
less be difficult for a mere fanatic to reach him. 
But the revolutionists could get him if they be- 
lieved his death would serve the cause of Liberty. 
That the Tsar lives to-day is due solely to this 
doubt. The revolutionists have emissaries at 
court, in the palaces. It would not be difficult to 
carry out a death sentence passed upon him. But 
what would be the result of this? Who would be 
his immediate successor, that is, the Dictator pend- 
ing the coming of age of Alexis? 

The Russian liberals cannot forget that the as- 
sassination of Alexander II in 1881 instead of help- 
ing the Cause, set it back twenty years. It would 
be fatal to repeat such a blunder as that. And as 
to the Dictator — he might be any one of several 
Grand Dukes, and one or two of these would un- 
questionably be more aggressively tyrannical than 
the present Emperor. And while so much doubt 
prevails the life of Nicholas II is comparatively 
safe. On the other hand, if there is a desire to end 
the rule of the Romanoffs a much safer method 
would be to do away with the successors to the 
Throne. Such a proceeding would be unaccom- 
panied by immediate political disturbance, and yet 
would be effective. 

We can understand, therefore, the anxiety with 
which the Tsaritsa watches over Alexis. His birth 
was so long and so earnestly desired, and at least so 

214 Royal Romances of To-day 

long as he is the only son any disaster overtaking 
him would be viewed as the most terrible of calami- 
ties — probably worse from the standpoint of the 
court than disaster to the Tsar himself. From the 
hour of his birth the Tsaritsa has taken it as her 
especial task to guard and protect her son from all 

At Peterhof, at Tsarskoe-Selo, on the Royal 
Yacht, wherever Alexis goes the Tsaritsa is close 
beside. The little Grand Duchesses may some- 
times be seen playing in the park at Peterhof ac- 
companied by only their governesses and a groom, 
but if their brother is there too, so is the Royal 
mother. At functions, military reviews and the 
like, when Alexis is on exhibition to inspire the 
regiments with loyalty, the Empress always re- 
mains particularly near to her son. 

The education of the children is supervised per- 
sonally by the Tsaritsa. The instructors of the 
children of the Tsar have a very difficult task in- 
deed. There are certain subjects in which the chil- 
dren must be thoroughly grounded, and certain 
others which must be taught eclectically and others 
which must be eschewed altogether. 

I have a friend, now living in St. Petersburg, 
who was a court tutor for four years, and he has 
sometimes told me of the difficulties he encoun- 
tered during that period. The Russian tutors 
generally have the rank of General, and are ad- 
dressed in great formality as "Your Excellency." 
Teachers from abroad, however, appear in the Pal- 

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia 215 

ace class-rooms in what we know as "evening 
dress." How strange it would seem to American 
boys and girls to go to school one morning and find 
the teacher wearing a low cut vest and long-tailed 

The two older children, Olga and Tatiana, in- 
herit from their mother a fondness for music, and 
they both play quite well already. The Tsar en- 
joys listening to music, but he plays only by ear 
and never sings himself. 

The end of the chapter is not yet. The Tsar- 
itsa is still a young woman, and Empress of one of 
the most turbulent Empires on earth. The rank 
and file of her one hundred and fifty million sub- 
jects hold nothing against her but they are weary 
of the Romonoff regime. Militarism is now the 
last bulwark of the Empire. Martial law is spread 
over a large part of the Empire and the people are 
kept in subjection, in artificial quiet only through 
the constant menace of bayonets and prisons whose 
doors ever yawn to political heretics. 

No one may prophesy the end, nor when it will 
come. The future is shrouded in complete mys- 
tery and therefore possesses incomparable fascina- 

The Tsaritsa is still, by virtue of her position, 
one of the most powerful women in the western 
world, but whose life has been given to the natural 
development of the love of her school-girl days, at 
the expense of a career which might have rivalled 
that of the greatest heroines of history. 

216 Royal Romances of To-day 

This is the story of the little German Princess, 
who was left motherless at six, and came unto her 
own through her heart's romance, and has re- 
mained faithful to this romance despite the tempt- 
ing circumstances of Opportunity. The simple 
loving child who was called "Sunny" is to-day 
more than anything else the simple, loving wife 
of Nicholas II, the devoted mother of his children. 
Judging from her life, if she had the dearest will 
and wish of her heart it would be that she might 
be remembered as Wife and Mother, rather than 
as Empress. Thus the life of Princess Alix of 
Hesse — "Sunny" — passed into the Romance of an 
Empress — with its burdens and its sufferings and 
its tragedies, and thus the end of the road looks 
dark, uncertain and ominously fearful. 





On the eastern shores of the Adriatic, nestling 
between the unfamiliar Provinces of Herzegovina 
and Albania, lies the Kingdom of Montenegro. It 
is a tiny spot on the map and until very recently 
was rated as a Principality. The entire population 
of Montenegro would make only a small American 
city, yet the Montenegrans are a proud nation, with 
an engrossing and noble history, and perhaps no 
country in Europe has had a more romantic past. 
They are an aggressive people, these Montene- 
grans, always armed, ever ready to fight for the 
cause of freedom, a liberty-loving people, a staunch 
folk. The denizens of Montenegro have always 
been daring and bold; withal a poetic people. 
Nicholas, their Prince, is the first warrior in the 
kingdom and also the first poet. He is a pic- 
turesque figure, familiar to Europe and more or 
less known to America, for much has been written 
about him. Some years ago, some one had the 
temerity to inquire of Prince Nicholas, as he then 
was called, what were the exportations of Monte- 


220 Royal Romances of To-day 

negro, to which question he gave answer, "My 

The daughters of King Nicholas have indeed 
been a wonderful asset to this little nation. One 
married a Russian Grand Duke, thus securing the 
friendship of Russia. Another married a Servian, 
who at the present time reigns over that Kingdom. 
While another, Elena, married a Prince who pres- 
ently became a King, making his spouse Queen of 
a great nation. 

The story of the romance of the Montenegran 
Elena and the Italian Prince, son of the late King 
Humbert, and now known as King Victor Eman- 
uel III, is one of the most romantic stories con- 
nected with the Court life of Europe. Princess 
Elena was the fourth child of King Nicholas, and 
she, perhaps more than any of the children, in- 
herited many of her father's noble qualities. 

Many times as I have watched her driving 
through the streets of Rome, deftly holding the 
reins and guiding the great black horses up and 
down the hilly, badly paved streets, or leisurely 
reposing in one of the magnificent Royal automo- 
biles speeding up the Pincio or through the lovely 
gardens of the Villa Borghese, complacently ac- 
knowledging the salutes of the people, I have tried 
to fancy the little black-eyed Princess among her 
native hills — bounding like a chamois from rock to 
rock among the tallest crags and peaks, rejoicing in 
the high air, the free life, the glorious rapture that 
comes only to the mountain-born. In fancy I have 

Queen Elena of Italy 221 

pictured her returning to her simple Cittenje home 
at night, her hands holding delicious bunches of 
Alpine flowers, her arms laden with flower 
branches. A strange girlhood this, for a future 
Queen. But so Elena lived as a child — naturally, 
spontaneously, freely. 

And now — beside this fancy-memory I have to 
place a recollection of another phase of her life, 
when I saw her as Queen, in the midst of the hor- 
rors of Messina, nursing the wounded and com- 
forting the dying. The night she was injured 
during a panic following one of the earthquake 
shocks I was standing on the deck of a ship lying 
so close to the Italian flagship that I could watch 
the wild rush of refugees across the decks, many of 
them to the rails as if to throw themselves into the 
sea. One afternoon I was on a British warship 
when Queen Elena came aboard to visit the 
wounded who were about to be conveyed to Naples. 
She spent more than an hour among the cots and 
stretchers and spoke a personal word to each and 
every one. All this was fine — a kind of work 
Queens rarely do. It was dramatic, too. For dur- 
ing the days immediately succeeding the first shock, 
earthquakes were constantly recurring and there 
were a hundred dangers to which all were exposed. 
But when we know of Queen Elena's early years 
we understand the instinct which took her so 
promptly to Messina, and we understand many of 
the other qualities which distinguish her from the 
other Queens of the world. 

222 Royal Romances of To-day 

Elena's grandfather was called Prince Mirko, a 
name renowned in the history of Montenegro, for 
when Mirko was a very young man, long before 
he had become the idol of the Montenegran people, 
he was serving in a war against Turkey. One day 
Mirko and a comrade became detached from their 
regiment and fell into an ambush. The situation 
looked desperate. Pausing for an instant the two 
young officers made a vow that if they both sur- 
vived the day, and eventually got back to their 
homes that they would one day seal their friend- 
ship and the memory of that experience, in blood. 
Some years later Mirko having married, became 
the father of a son whom he called Nicholas. 
When the boy Nicholas was seven years old, Mir- 
ko's old comrade of the Turkish war became the 
father of a daughter whom he named Melena. 
These two children became betrothed when Me- 
lena was still in her cradle and when she was only 
thirteen years old she and Nicholas were married. 
The fortune of life was so ordered that in time 
Nicholas became the ruler of the little principality, 
and Melena, his wife and consort, from the very 
first shared the responsibilities of administration 
with him. So complete a helpmeet has Melena 
been to Nicholas that from time to time when the 
Prince has of necessity quit Montenegro to visit 
his friend and ally the Tsar of Russia, or his son- 
in-law, the King of Servia, he has left all the reins 
of rulership to Melena, who has ever discharged 
her duties wisely. Besides all this she has borne 


Queen Elena of Italy 223 

him thirteen children. Elena was their fourth 
child. It was no inconsiderable thing when she was 
picked by the Prince of Naples to be his bride, 
because this meant she would eventually be a great 
Queen. Elena was born fairly in the lap of ro- 
mance, and Fate has been extraordinarily generous 
to her in supplying her with exceptional romantic 
and dramatic episodes which, ever since she came 
into her own have served to bring her before the 
eyes of the world. 

No Queen in Europe to-day, save the Tsaritsa 
and Queen Victoria Eugenie, looks more a 
Queen than Elena. She is stately and tall, 
with a statuesque poise that anywhere singles 
her from the throng. Her hair is as black 
as midnight forest depths, her eyes as luminous as 
live coals. Her skin is like unto olives, and her 
hands firm and strong and large. Her shoulders 
are broad and she holds them squarely. The im- 
pression the woman gives is of unusual physical 
strength. Nor could this well be otherwise in 
view of her athletic training. As a child she was 
always a devotee of Nimrod, given inordinately to 
the chase. Long after her marriage she continued 
to hunt, — to shoot deer and birds, — to ride to 
hounds, and play tennis. A modern Diana might 
she in verity be called. But her training was not 
restricted to sports and outdoor activities. Far 
from it. These were but natural incidentals to 
each day's work in Montenegro, and well it were 
if similar customs held the world over, for surely 

224 Royal Romances of To-day 

there are no better physiques in both men and 
women anywhere on earth than in this same little 

Elena's parents are both extraordinary people. 
Old Prince Nicholas is one of the most remarkable 
rulers in the world to-day. Like Julius Caesar, he 
boasts that he knows the names of all the men in his 
army, and as all of the men in Montenegro are of 
the army, his boast is practically that he knows all 
of his subjects. A ruler who interests himself thus 
deeply in the affairs of his state would naturally 
look carefully to his own family. And so when 
Elena was a wee baby just learning to toddle, the 
Prince used to take her upon his knee and give her 
her first lessons. Her first tutor, he used to call 
himself. He it was who taught her the letters of 
the alphabet of her mother tongue, gave her her 
first lesson in reading. His was the great hand 
that guided the little baby fingers as they labori- 
ously traced the difficult Slavish hieroglyphics. 
Later, he interested her in geography and in his- 
tory. Never a day passed when Nicholas was so 
occupied with the affairs of his kingdom, or with 
the knotty international problems that are forever 
engaging the troublesome little Balkan states and 
the great Ghoul Powers of Austria and Turkey 
that are ever lying in wait to gobble them up, that 
he neglected the lessons of his little daughter. 

During the early years of her life Elena lived in 
the great square grey "palace" of the ruler of 
Montenegro in Cittenje. It is not a beautiful nor 

Queen Elena of Italy 225 

elaborate home like most of the palaces of the 
sovereigns and rulers of Europe. Indeed, it is dis- 
tinctly plain and unimposing, with bare and barren 
surroundings. The stern mountains of Montene- 
gro rise abruptly behind the town, and the Palace is 
on the edge of the miniature capital almost in the 
shadows of the cragged hills. Here lived Prince 
Nicholas and Princess Melena, and all their chil- 
dren until one by one the latter married and drifted 
to other lands — Princess Zorka to become the wife 
of the present King of Servia; Princess Melitza to 
become the spouse of Grand Duke Peter Nicholai- 
vitch of Russia; Elena to become the Princess of 
Naples and subsequently the Queen of Italy. 

As a child Elena was always lively and active. 
In America she would have been called a "tom- 
boy," for she preferred the company of her broth- 
ers to that of her sisters and it was through the 
pains of two of them — Danilo and Mirko — that 
she became expert with the rifle and rod, a famil- 
iar horsewoman, and so able a walker and climber. 

The spirit of Elena was wild and free. She 
loved fresh air, a mad scamper over the hills, an 
adventure that savoured of danger. Encouraged by 
her father and brothers to all activities in the open 
she developed into a strong, stalwart girl and later 
into the Amazonian woman she is to-day. Long 
after her marriage she retained the fresh and 
breezy way acquired in girlhood. 

An important influence in Elena's early life were 
the grandfather's tales she listened to round the 

226 Royal Romances of To-day 

great fire in her homely Palace home. Monte- 
negro, like all older mountain countries, has a 
folk tale and a legend associated with every crag 
and valley. Elena heard from her veteran grand- 
father how the Montenegran people battled with 
the Turks, and her little heart would fairly quiver 
with the heroic deeds of valour that the old man 
would relate of the stormy days when the Balkan 
peninsula was like a great seething cauldron, and 
men, and the women too, came down from the 
mountain fastnesses in their quaint and rude attire 
to fight the trained troops of European armies. 
Thus was her child's imagination fired, and love 
and pride of country aroused. 

One day little Elena brought her father some 
sheets of paper upon which were drawn some 
strange pictures. The Prince held the sheets up- 
side down at first, trying to make out what his 
little daughter had brought him. Elena was 
much hurt at this and she could hardly keep back 
the tears. But when the Prince turned the papers 
round the right way he quickly made out, under 
her guidance, the house and the mountain, and the 
dog chasing the sheep. Indeed, he admired not a 
little this first artistic effort of Elena's, and right 
there and then he sat down with her and together 
they drew the pictures all over again, only this 
time much better as Elena herself realised. This 
was the little Princess's first drawing lesson. After 
that Elena had a drawing lesson every day. She 
soon showed signs of a distinct talent in this direc- 

Queen Elena of Italy 227 

tion and by the time she was ten years old she 
had not only conquered the first principles of 
drawing but she had also made considerable prog- 
ress in the use of water colours. This talent Elena 
continued to develop, and with what success may 
be judged from the fact that when she was still a 
girl in her teens she became a kind of unofficial 
"Minister of Fine Arts" in her father's cabinet. 
She was instrumental in bringing art exhibits into 
Montenegro, in organising drawing and painting 
classes in the public schools and thus for the first 
time bringing the refining and civilising influence 
of art culture to her people. She even inaugu- 
rated scholarships to encourage art students, and 
to-day Montenegro has a number of ambitious 
painters who are actually building up a school of 
art of their own. Influenced by the picturesque 
barrenness of their native mountains, together with 
the gorgeous skies and brilliant atmospheres, they 
are developing an individual and nationalist 
school. To this day, Queen Elena retains her in- 
terest in the native Montenegran artists, and also 
in her own drawing and painting. In the Quir- 
inal Palace in Rome she has a studio, where of an 
afternoon she may frequently be found spending 
an hour at her easel. It is her custom each 
Christmas to send as gifts to her more intimate 
friends sketches and little water colours of her own 

Elena had other tutors than her father and 
grandfather, however. From a young child she 

228 Royal Romances of To-day 

had a Swiss governess who was her daily com- 
panion, and who instructed her in French, and 
supplemented the teaching of her father in the 
other branches. It is thus the training of Elena 
from childhood was the training not only of a 
Princess but of one who might easily assume the 
duties and obligations of a Queen. It is not likely 
that the little Elena ever dared to dream of what 
her future might be or that her imaginings ever 
pictured that in womanhood she might occupy a 
throne as the consort of the King of a great nation, 
but her father is one of the most astute statesmen 
in Europe, and with all his children he arranged 
their education so that they might be acceptable 
to any high niche in life to which destiny might 
call them. 



WHEN Elena was twelve years old an impor- 
tant change came into her life. She was sent away 
to St. Petersburg to enter the most wonderful 
school of its kind in the world. This was the 
famous, glorified boarding school for the daugh- 
ters of the nobility which for many years has been 
patronised by the Empress Marie Feodorovna, 
wife of Tsar Alexander III and mother of the 
present Emperor, Nicholas II. Fancy a girls' 
school where every pupil is a little Countess or 
Princess or Grand Duchess! In Russia the 
family titles usually descend to the children, so 
that this is no exaggeration. This school corre- 
sponds to one which exists for boys known as the 
Corps des Pages — or school of pages. The young 
sons of the nobility are sent here at an early age 
and are commonly spoken of as pages of the courts. 
Most of the boys who go to this school become 
officers and generally are assigned to the crack 
regiments which guard the persons of the sover- 
eigns. As a rule only native Russians are ad- 
mitted to these two exclusive schools, but the 
daughters of Prince Nicholas were easily granted 
place, because they were the daughters of a ruling 


230 Royal Romances of To-day 

Prince, and also because they had the rare ad- 
vantage among non-Russians of already knowing 
Russian, or at least the Slav tongue which is very 
similar to Russian. 

For six winters Elena continued at this school, 
and on her way to and from the northland capital 
she was taken to visit many of the famous art 
galleries of Europe. In St. Petersburg she had 
the privilege of the Hermitage Gallery, where is 
one of the foremost art collections in Europe, and 
in Dresden and Munich she became yet more 
widely acquainted with the masterpieces of the 
world's art. Thus was her fondness for art grati- 
fied, and her general education broadened and en- 

Another talent that Elena inherited was that of 
writing poetry. Her father, Nicholas, is a poet 
of no mean rank. Many of the folk songs of 
Montenegro which mothers croon to their babes 
at night, which shepherds in their lonely huts far 
up the mountain sides sing to give them cheer when 
fierce storms are sweeping over their steep pas- 
tures, were written by the Prince when he was a 
young man and during the forty years of his reign 
they have become so universal that already they 
are classic. Once indeed he wrote a very long po- 
etic and romantic drama called "An Empress of 
the Balkans," which his son, Mirko, Elena's oldest 
brother, set to music. And this poetic instinct 
which her father has made such good use of in 
endearing himself to his people, is also strong in 

Queen Elena of Italy 231 

Elena. For some reason, however, Elena has 
never been so proud of this talent as of her paint- 
ing. Nevertheless she has published minor verse 
from time to time, and as one member of her suite 
told me once: "She writes still — but she does not 
own it." 

Curiously enough she once wrote a sonnet to 
Venice, which she called a "city of poetry, love 
and feeling." This sonnet was published in a 
school magazine, and was written before she had 
ever visited the romantic city of islands. It was 
in this same Venice that she later met the Prince 
who was to make her a Queen, and where the love 
story of her life began. 

In the spring of the year 1895, when Elena was 
twenty-two years old, she and her sister Anna 
came with their mother, Princess Melena, to the 
opening of the annual International Art Exhibi- 
tion at Venice. This is one of the events of the 
year in the art world of Europe and is looked for- 
ward to almost as much as the annual salon in 
Paris and the Spring Academy Exhibition in Lon- 
don. The King and Queen frequently open the 
exhibition, and not infrequently distinguished 
members of other Royal houses are also present. 
So it was in the memorable month of April 1895. 
King Humbert and Queen Margherita with their 
son, the heir to the throne, the young Prince of 
Naples, travelled up from Rome to inaugurate the 
exhibition. Of course courtesy calls were ex- 
changed between the sovereigns and the other 

232 Royal Romances of To-day 

Royal visitors present, including Princess Melena 
and her daughters. 

Princess Elena was now a tall, large-framed 
woman of twenty-two. She had the physique of 
one much older, but her manner and face showed 
all the keenness and freshness of a young girl. By 
this time she had outgrown the hoydenish traits of 
her girlhood and there was dignity and repose in 
her manner. One feature distinguished her from 
other Princesses in Europe. She was totally free 
from the social veneer which comes inevitably from 
a long continuance of ceremonious life. Any 
Prince of a western European court would have 
been quick to notice this, and Prince Victor Em- 
manuel was by no means the least to fall under the 
spell of its charm. 

Prince Victor Emmanuel as heir to the Italian 
throne was one of the most sought-after Princes in 
all Europe. Popular gossip had successively be- 
trothed him to Princess Clementine, daughter of 
the King of the Belgians, to Princess Feodora of 
Schleswig-Holstein, sister of the Emperor of Ger- 
many, to Archduchess Annunziati, daughter of 
archduke Carl Ludwig of Austria; and to Prin- 
cess Mary Magdalene, daughter of the King of 
Greece. The trouble with all of these alliances 
was, according to the Prince, that they were politi- 
cal rather than personal, and may it be writ large 
on the page of history that Victor Emmanuel had 
a romantic soul which would be satisfied what- 
ever came of the political ambitions of his family. 




Queen Elena of Italy 233 

When grey and hoary councillors of state ap- 
proached him in regard to the desirability of his 
marrying one or another of the Royal Princesses 
in the eligible list, he would shake his square head 
and turn aside saying, "I have time enough." He 
knew that one day he would see the Princess whom 
he would love, and for her he was content to wait. 

When in Venice, "The city of poetry, love and 
feeling," he met for the first time Princess Elena 
of Montenegro, he promptly said to his Royal 
father, "There is the Princess I will marry." 
Politically, little was to be gained for Italy by a 
marriage alliance with the little Balkan state, so 
Humbert, a wise king, counselled patience, though 
not actually opposing the will of the Crown 

Elena and her mother and sister returned to 
their own country after only two days. But in 
those two days the Prince had found a time and 
place to speak. Only two days! Surely a brief 
courtship with an interminable round of official 
ceremonies consuming, as it seemed, all of the 
hours. Two busy days, yet the Prince of Naples 
had whispered the thrilling words and Elena, the 
Balkan Princess, knew that her future was hence- 
forth spread in greater Europe. 



Victor Emmanuel was at this time considered 
one of the most desirable of eligible Princes in all 
Europe, not only because of his inheritance, but 
because of his intelligence and his character. 
Queen Victoria once called him "the most intelli- 
gent Prince in Europe." As a child he had showed 
marked individuality and his father and mother, 
King Humbert and Queen Margherita, both be- 
ing people of strong characteristics, had reared 
him in an atmosphere of strictest discipline which 
naturally had its effect upon the man. Like Na- 
poleon, the little Victor Emmanuel was never 
ashamed to ask any question, nor did he ever ask 
any question twice. Until he was twelve years old 
his school hours were regulated by the state of his 
health, which was never robust, but on his twelfth 
birthday, he was given over into the hands of 
Colonel Osio, a famous soldier and disciplinarian, 
who planned an eight year course of training 
which included regular hours for everything, and 
resulted not only in developing the boy's mind and 
sharpening his wits, but also in hardening his mus- 
cles and accustoming his constitution to all kinds 
of hardships and endurance tests. 


Queen Elena of Italy 235 

One incident of this period of his life Victor 
Emmanuel has never forgotten. As a young boy 
he was not over strong, and frequently he con- 
tracted head colds. One morning he reported as 
usual at seven o'clock to his tutor, but coughing 
badly and his nose and eyes sorely inflamed. At 
eight o'clock Colonel Osio appeared to take the 
young Prince out for his usual hour of exercise on 
horseback. The day was rainy and disagreeable. 
The tutor ventured to suggest to Colonel Osio that 
their Royal charge was scarcely in fit condition to 
go out that morning. Whereupon the Colonel re- 
plied, "If war were declared to-morrow, would the 
Prince be allowed to stay indoors because he had a 
cold?" As the Colonel disappeared with the 
Prince the tutor exclaimed: "Ah! with these 
soldiers it is impossible to reason." 

When Victor Emmanuel began the study of 
Latin, his mother, the beloved Queen Margherita, 
took it up also! One day, she proved to him that 
she had made better progress than he. At the 
time the Prince made no comment upon this, but 
a little later when his tutor started to chide him 
about this Victor Emmanuel retorted somewhat 
sharply: "That is all very well, but my mother has 
nothing else to do, whilst I have a hundred other 
things to attend to !" An answer that every school- 
boy and schoolgirl will surely appreciate. 

Colonel Osio was without doubt a stern disci- 
plinarian. As he outlined the daily schedule for 
the Prince, the rising hour was six o'clock, summer 

236 Royal Romances of To-day 

and winter. After a bath and simple breakfast, 
he sat down to his first lessons with his tutor. At 
eight o'clock he rode for an hour with the Colonel, 
then returned to his studies which continued all 
day. His very recreations were in the nature of 
studies, for being raised as a soldier he had to 
master all military tactics and to dig trenches, erect 
redoubts and obstructions with his own hands, so 
that in time of necessity he could the better com- 
mand and direct his soldiers. As the motto set 
before the Prince was: "To know everything of 
something, and something of everything," his 
studies were pursued the year round. During the 
dead of summer his books were laid by, but he was 
taken out of doors and kept busily at work, learning 
of nature, or all about guns and shooting, and ever 
subject to the discipline of hours. 

The instructions of Colonel Osio to his tutor 
were: "Treat the Prince as you would treat any 
other pupil. Show him no special consideration 
nor regard. Indulge him in absolutely nothing. 
For example, if, during a lesson something is 
wanted, he and not you must get it. If a book falls 
to the floor, he, not you, must pick it up! You 
must profit by his self-esteem, highly developed in 
him, to exact from him firmly and always the ful- 
filment of all his duties. "As for yourself," the 
Colonel continued, looking full at the tutor, "I 
want you to understand that the interests at stake 
are so great, that if you fail in any way I shall show 
you no mercy." As the tutor felt as much subject 

Queen Elena of Italy 237 

to the rules and regulations laid down by the 
Colonel as did his pupil, it is needless to say that 
he was obeyed to the letter. 

The Rev. Alexander Robertson who has lived 
many years in Italy, and who has made a searching 
study of the life of Victor Emmanuel, says that so 
completely did King Humbert give over the edu- 
cation of his heir to Colonel Osio that if the Prince 
even asked permission to accompany the King and 
Queen to the theatre the answer was invariably: 
"Ask the Colonel." Thus was the young King 
trained. If the "child is father to the man," from 
these gleanings of his boyhood and the stories of 
his early discipline, we may gather what manner 
of Prince it was who won the heart of the stately 
and beautiful Elena, Princess of Montenegro. 

Mr. Robertson tells how on one occasion the 
little Prince Victor Emmanuel was playing with 
the small daughter of the Marchioness of Villa- 
marina, who was then a Lady-in-Waiting to Queen 
Margherita, and the two children quarrelled, as 
all children will, over some trifle. Of a sudden 
the Prince became greatly enraged, and lost his 
temper. "When I am King I will have your head 
cut off!" he exclaimed loudly. Queen Margherita 
overheard these harsh words, and the Prince was 
put on prison fare for three days. 

Victor Emmanuel and his wife, Elena, were 
destined to become sovereigns of Italy upon the 
tragic occasion when King Humbert was assassin- 
ated at his lovely mountain home of Monza in the 

238 Royal Romances of To-day 

north of the Kingdom. An interesting, if nerve- 
straining incident occurred when the Prince was 
present at a previous unsuccessful attempt upon the 
life of his father. This took place when Victor 
Emmanuel was only twelve years old. The King 
and his son were just leaving the railroad station 
in Naples when a man named Passananti, calling 
himself an anarchist, made a lunge with a stiletto 
full at the breast of the King. A minister who was 
also in the carriage was quick enough to turn 
aside the glittering blade. The King, with superb 
poise, drew his sword, and crashed it broadside 
over the would-be assassin's head. Throughout 
the scene the young Prince sat immovable, not 
showing the slightest trace of fear. Courage may 
not be the highest virtue, but it is essential in a 
King, and in any one, never fails to excite admira- 

Queen Margherita was as exceptional a mother 
as she was an unusual Queen. As Queen Elena 
has of late years proved herself devoted to the 
Royal nursery, so Margherita always gave a large 
part of each day to the rearing of the heir appar- 
ent. She it was who insisted upon his keeping a 
strict account of all the money that passed through 
his hands. In this way he learned to appreciate 
the value of money — the little sums, the trifles 
which in themselves seem of no consequence, but 
which aggregate so large in the course of months. 
Under directions, he also kept a diary, in order that 
he might not be prodigal in the use of time — the 

Queen Elena of Italy 239 

moments we are all so apt to waste carelessly and 
thoughtlessly a score of times each day. 

It was the custom of the Prince to lunch with 
the King and Queen certain days each week. One 
day the King was occupied with his ministers much 
longer than usual, and the luncheon hour was long 
past. The Prince ventured to remark to the 
Queen, somewhat petulantly, that he was hungry 
and couldn't wait any longer for his meal. Cross- 
ing the room to a bookshelf, the Queen took a copy 
of Dante and laid it before the boy, saying: "Read 
this, and your hunger will all go." 

Any boy, especially a Prince, would naturally 
possess qualities of attractive manhood that would 
appeal to a woman of domestic instincts. That 
Princess Elena possessed these innate qualities her 
life since testifies. To her, unquestionably, Vic- 
tor Emmanuel seemed an ideal Prince. There was 
only one element to this romance which is distinctly 
unromantic, and of this Victor Emmanuel is very 
sensitive. He is a small man, distinctly under- 
sized, while Elena towers far above him when 
they are standing side by side. Nowadays the 
King has his carriage in the Royal stables built 
with a specially elevated seat, like a coachman's 
box, so that this discrepancy in size is not so ap- 
parent when they drive. 



Now that we know more about Victor Em- 
manuel, we can follow the course of the love match 
between him and Princess Elena with more famil- 
iarity and interest. It is strange that these young 
lovers from two of the southermost, warmest coun- 
tries of Europe must go for the second chapter of 
their romance to the northermost, coldest country 
on the continent. Yet so was it to be. Their next 
meeting was in far away Moscow, the occasion was 
the Coronation of the present Tsar. Here another 
coincidence appears. Four years before when 
Princess Elena was finishing her course at the 
Royal Academy in St. Petersburg she was pre- 
sented at the Court of Alexander III through the 
influence of her sister, the Grand Duchess Melitza. 
Soon after this a rumour was circulated through- 
out Europe that the eyes of the young Nicholas, 
heir to the Russian Throne, had looked with fa- 
vour upon the Montenegran Princess. Certain it is 
that Elena's father, wily Prince Nicholas, did not 
discourage this match, but the young Tsarevitch 
had long before set his heart upon a German Prin- 
cess — Alix of Hesse and the Rhine — and if he 
looked upon Elena at all it was only an idle flirta- 


Queen Elena of Italy 241 

tion, for his mind was made up in regard to his 
consort long before Elena went to Petersburg. 

The Prince of Naples represented the Italian 
sovereigns at the Russian Coronation festivities, 
while Elena was a guest of her sister. Naturally, 
the two met. This was only their second meeting, 
but from the noticeable intimacy that immediately 
sprang up between them it was evident that the 
Venice meeting had been followed by a lively 
correspondence. The Coronation procession was 
the most splendid pageant of the closing decade of 
the nineteenth century, and the balls and dinners 
which were given in honour of the accession of 
Nicholas II to the throne of his fathers, the most 
magnificent that human ingenuity and unlimited 
wealth could devise. Against this golden back- 
ground Prince Victor Emmanuel and Princess 
Elena pursued their courtship, indefatigably, if 
not always discreetly. Even the Tsar was not so 
engrossed that he did not observe the daring suit 
of the Italian Prince. Having a kind of paternal 
interest in Montenegro, Tsar Nicholas felt it not 
improper to express his good will toward these two 
sweethearts and it was largely through his personal 
interest and encouragement that the betrothal was 
finally arranged. When the coronation festivities 
were over and the myriad royal and noble guests 
from all parts of the world returned to their home- 
lands, it was pretty generally understood that the 
Prince of Naples would presently wed the Monte- 
negran Princess. 

242 Royal Romances of To-day 

Toward the middle of August of the Russian 
Coronation year, to the surprise of no one, the Ital- 
ian Royal yacht Cajola, having aboard the Crown 
Prince, rounded Cape S. Marie de Leucca, prow 
pointed toward Cattaro, the port of Cettenje, the 
capital of Montenegro. A large part of the Mon- 
tenegran population gathered along the shore to 
welcome the Italian Prince. All knew what his 
coming meant. All appreciated, too, his coming 
in person, for Royal etiquette allows that on such 
an occasion a Prince may send an ambassador and 
Royal entourage to formally arrange the details 
of official betrothal and marriage. Cettenje was 
arrayed in gala dress as never before in its history. 
As a local newspaper quaintly but enthusiastically 
put it, "the twenty-five hundred people compris- 
ing the entire population of the capital met on the 
one street of the town shouting their greetings." 
Surely in this alone is romance enough for one life- 
time, the Princess of a country whose capital has 
one street, whose entire population is twenty-five 
hundred, about to become the Crown Princess, and 
presently the Queen, of one of the first powers of 

The official announcement of the betrothal was 
made August 18, 1896. Two days later a great 
hunt was organised by Prince Nicholas and his 
oldest son Mirko, in honour of the event. All of 
the Prince's household and all of the suite of the 
Prince of Naples were invited to participate. The 
two lovers alone declined. At such a time, they 

Queen Elena of Italy 243 

said, when they were both so happy they preferred 
not to spill one drop of blood, for that would be 
to mar their own happiness! For two young peo- 
ple unusually keen for the hunt and both splendid 
shots, this was indeed a delightful sentiment. 

Shortly after this hunt the Prince of Naples re- 
turned to Rome to begin preparations for the re- 
ception of his bride. On the second day of Octo- 
ber — just six weeks later — Elena held her last con- 
ference with her father, who brought her to the 
quay where lay the ship that was to convey her to 
Italian soil. When Prince Nicholas had said his 
last farewell and kissed his beloved daughter on 
both cheeks, he turned and slowly climbed the hill 
behind the town, on which stands a chapel. En- 
tering the tiny church the Prince fell to his knees 
and there remained for a long time absorbed in 
silent prayer. 

When he emerged once more, the ship to which 
he had consigned Elena was but a speck in the dis- 
tance, across the deep blue waters of the Adriatic. 
They did not meet again before the marriage, 
which took place in Rome. 

Elena landed at the Italian port of Bari. Her 
first act was to go up to the old town church, and 
there be received into the Roman Catholic Church. 
Montenegro, like all Slav countries is still under 
the domination of the Greek Catholic Church, and 
it was in this Church that Elena had been reared. 
The difficulties of her release from the Greek 
Church were made simple by the personal appeal 

244 Royal Romances of To-day 

of the Tsar of Russia, whose influence is all power- 
ful with the Greek hierarchy, who bespoke a 
friendly word on behalf of the young Princess. 

The marriage was to take place in the great hall 
of the Quirinal Palace. An incident occurred at 
this time, which, though trifling, is not wanting 
of a certain savour. 

The private apartment of Queen Margherita had 
been designated for the formation of the cortege. 
Prince Nicholas and Princess Elena, by inatten- 
tion, or because it had been omitted to inform 
them, entered the Quirinal from the stairs of hon- 
our and found only the Mayor of Rome who had 
come to assist at the marriage. Happily the 
Prince of Naples had witnessed this scene from the 
window of the Palace. He ran immediately to 
relieve their perplexity and escorted Prince Nich- 
olas and his own Princess to the Queen's apart- 

When the time of the ceremony arrived, Count 
Gianotti took the head of the cortege. Behind the 
King and the Queen walked Prince Nicholas and 
Princess Elena, the Duke of Oporto and Princess 
Laetitia, Prince Victor Napoleon and Princess 
Helena of Aosta, the Duke of Aosta and the Dow- 
ager Duchess of Genoa, Prince Mirko and the 
Duchess Isabel of Genoa, the Count of Turin and 
Princess Anna, sister of Princess Helena, and then 
the Civil and Military houses of the sovereigns. 

Monseigneur Auzine brought a silver veil that 
the Duke of Aosta, the Count of Turin, Prince 

Queen Elena of Italy 245 

Mirko and Prince Harageorgevitch, to-day King 
of Servia, unfolded and kept over the bride and 
bridegroom during the whole ceremony. 

After the ceremony Elena was more than ever 
nervous and deeply moved; her olive skin grew ex- 
quisitely white, almost like alabaster. The sun, 
which up to that moment had loitered behind 
clouds, suddenly broke through the misty screen, 
suffusing the whole city in a glorious fulsome 
light. The bells of the American Church in Rome 
nearby, began to chime the Wedding March from 
Lohengrin, and from the great Roman populace 
gathered in the streets near the Palace went up a 
tumultuous cheer. Thus propitiously began the 
married life of the most romantic Royal couple of 
that time in Europe. 

To compensate for their all-too-brief courtship, 
Prince Victor Emmanuel decided that their honey- 
moon should be protracted, and far from the eyes 
of the curious. To accomplish this they went at 
once to the distant isles of Greece, to the romantic 
coast of Sicily, to wherever waters are emerald, 
skies azure blue and the days golden. In their 
own yacht they managed to escape from all public 
vision, and so weeks and months were spent like 
a prolonged summer idyl. Never were lovers 
more secluded, more care-free, more at ease, less 
trammelled to live with and for each other, as 
fiercely and as intensely as the flame within them 
burned. The world heard little of them on this 
long honeymoon trip of theirs. Sometimes a mes- 

246 Royal Romances of To-day 

sage came from an Algerian or Tunisian port, or 
from a remote Mediterranean spot like the Island 
of Monte Christo, where they spent untold happy 

This Island of Monte Christo, belonging to Vic- 
tor Emmanuel, is very secluded. Only the mem- 
bers of the household are allowed thereon. The 
Prince liked being there free of all responsibility 
and unrestrained to enjoy absolute liberty. 

As a bride Elena gave herself to a unique regime 
for a Royal Princess — she shared in the household 
work, performing with her own hands the duties 
of the home. This policy was adopted because 
the young couple dreaded to have others, even 
servants, about them, and this lonely island was, 
perhaps, the only place where they could find ab- 
solute seclusion and isolation. 

This Royal property, which for a certain time 
was called Gombo, was the favourite residence of 
the grand dukes of Tuscany. It formed a part of 
the private estate of Victor Emmanuel II, who, 
as an indefatigable hunter, used to make there a 
hecatomb of deers and fallow-deers. About 1865 
he ordered the building surrounded at a distance 
of twenty yards from the shore by a wood fence 
posed on pillars; he often spent there the night, 
lying on a couch in order to hear, on his awaking, 
the rocking song of the waves. 

Once during their protracted honeymoon Elena 
and her Prince went on a great hunting trip far 
up in semi-Arctic regions around the White Sea. 

Queen Elena of Italy 247 

I have heard tales of this trip from the lips of a 
Montenegran artist who was one of the party, and 
I have seen photographs of Elena and her Prince- 
bridegroom skurrying across frozen ice packs, 
bringing down Arctic game with their rifles, fish- 
ing through the ice for great deep sea fish — filling 
the days and weeks with pure pleasure, storing up 
joy against the years when the cares and responsi- 
bilities of state should hold them ever close to 
home. For four years this dream life went on. 
Then, in the summer of 1900, they were on one of 
their long cruises among the Greek Islands when 
they were rudely awakened. News reached them 
of the assassination of King Humbert! Both 
Elena and Victor Emmanuel knew what this 
meant. Their yacht was quickly turned toward 
Italy. This was their last care-free cruise. 

At this time Victor Emmanuel shut up within 
his heart the tortures he was enduring, to meet as 
a courageous man the duties imposed on him by 
that misfortune. But Elena, who had become de- 
voted to her new family, was completely overcome 
and abandoned herself wholly to her sorrow, weep- 
ing and crying aloud: "My father!" "My good 

On their journey to Monza, the scene of the 
tragedy, and on their arrival at the station at Na- 
ples, Elena, weeping bitterly, pressed on the bosom 
of her Lady-in-Waiting. Victor Emmanuel, by 
the side of the Duke of Genoa, looked almost over- 
powered by sorrow, but he bore up bravely. He 

248 Royal Romances of To-day- 

invited the Prefecto and General Brusate to come 
near him. He shook hands with them and talked 
to them with a heavy voice veiled by tears. "It 
seems to me," said he to them, " that I am under 
the effect of a dream ; such a horrible murder seems 
to me impossible!" 

With the tragic death of King Humbert, Prince 
Victor Emmanuel became king, and his Monte- 
negran Princess Elena, Queen of Italy. In nearly 
every country where kings and queens sit upon 
thrones, the Coronation ceremony is a spectacle of 
great splendour and magnificence, but in Italy it 
is scarcely a ceremony at all. So far as the Queen 
is concerned, it amounted to nothing, while the 
King merely appears before the Parliament and 
takes his vows of allegiance and devotion to Italy 
and the Italian people. The simplicity of this 
sacred occasion is in peculiarly fitting keeping with 
the mind and character of Victor Emmanuel. 

For four years he and his bride had basked in 
the sunshine of love and romance. They had led 
the most ideal and romantic of lives. With their 
accession the more serious business of life began. 
Elena presently became a mother, first of a girl, 
then of another girl, then of a son, and then of a 
third daughter. 



THE prettiest sight I know in Rome is when the 
Royal Princesses and the little Crown Prince, 
Humbert, go driving. I lived for a winter in an 
apartment adjoining the Quirinal Palace, so that 
it frequently fell to me to catch glimpses of the 
Royal Family going or coming. Like the King 
and Queen, they drive out almost daily during the 
months the Royal Family spend in the capital, but 
it was the little ones who always caught my eye and 
made me turn to watch so long as they were in view. 
Usually there are the three girls, and a nursemaid 
holding the Prince on her knees. Their carriage 
is an ordinary two-horsed, double-seated coach. 
Immediately behind the carriage always ride two 
guards, on bicycles, men in plain, dark-blue clothes 
with knee breeches. A stranger in the city would 
not even notice them, although if one were observ- 
ant he might observe many of the passers-by lifting 
their hats and turning to watch. Almost every 
pleasant afternoon, when the King is in residence 
in Rome, immediately after lunch, or on a Satur- 
day forenoon, the children are driven just outside 
the walls of Rome to Villa Savoy, a playhouse 
which is all their own. During that portion of 


250 Royal Romances of To-day 

the year spent in Rome this is practically the only 
change they have from the Palace nursery and the 
Quirinal gardens — the latter by no means a 
cramped play-ground. When the Duke of Ascoli, 
Gentleman-in-Waiting to Queen Elena, first 
showed me these grounds I was quite astounded 
by their extent and their unique beauty. There 
are long avenues of boxwood hedges, groves of 
dark firs and picturesque parasol pines, fields of 
untended grass and acres of carefully nurtured 
flowers. And all this behind the dull yellow Quir- 
inal walls, fairly in the centre of the city. But any 
growing kiddies long for more than the yard of 
a city home, though that yard attain the propor- 
tions of a park, and the home be a Palace. Villa 
Savoy supplies the want, and here the children 
have their ponies and their pet donkey. Here 
Queen Elena, too, finds relief and refreshment, for 
the quiet of the children's playhouse is never in- 
truded upon by the court or visitors who are not 
intimates of the Royal Family. 

The Italian sovereigns are striving to purify and 
elevate the atmosphere and tone of their court so 
that their children may grow up in sweet home 
surroundings, protected from the careless way- 
wardness of the aristocratic world of Europe. 
Some call it a "straight-laced" court. One influ- 
ence which may be responsible for this may be 
traced to an incident in the schoolboy days of the 

When the King was a youth of sixteen he deter- 

Queen Elena of Italy 251 

mined to change his handwriting from the ordi- 
nary sloping hand in universal vogue to the so- 
called vertical. The formula which he took for 
his motto was, "Writing straight, paper straight, 
body straight." This boyhood motto has been be- 
fore him ever since. One of the first things the 
present King and Queen Elena did, upon their ac- 
cession to the Throne, was to attach to their persons 
only married couples. Ladies-in-Waiting to the 
Queen could only be married ladies whose hus- 
bands were during the same period Gentlemen-in- 
Waiting to the King. This was an early step to- 
ward elevating the moral standards of the Italian 
Court. Italian aristocracy had not been renowned 
for virtuous living, but the present sovereigns hold- 
ing to a high standard of morality determined to 
purify the court in so far as in them lay by banish- 
ing from active service all ladies and gentlemen 
whose names had ever been bandied by current gos- 
sip. This crusade, if it may be so called, was aided 
by the existing laws of the country which are still 
sufficiently under the influence of the Roman 
Catholic Church to prohibit divorce. No divorced 
man or woman has standing in Queen Elena's 
court. King Victor Emmanuel is himself ex- 
tremely devoted to his Queen and this devotion has 
often led to his being charged with intense jealousy. 
Whether or not this is true, his attitude toward 
Elena has resulted in her more and more with- 
drawing from the companionship of people of the 
court and devoting herself to her children. It is 

252 Royal Romances of To-day 

a pretty picture, that of the home life of this Queen. 
Six months of the year the Royal Family live at 
the Quirinal Palace in Rome. The remainder of 
the year is spent at various palaces and castles in 
different parts of the Kingdom, but chiefly at 
Monza in the North, where the summers are de- 
lightful. The long cruises and excursions that they 
were wont to indulge in previous to their accession 
— cruises in the Mediterranean and the Levant, 
hunting trips to Spitzbergen and the far North — 
are now a thing of the past, and a simple home life 
is their daily regime. 

The marriage took place in 1896. Their first 
child, Yolanda, was born June 1st, 1901. Royal 
babies are never permitted to do with only two or 
three Christian names. They must perpetuate the 
names of grandfathers and grandmothers, and not 
infrequently of uncles and aunts and grand-uncles 
and grand-aunts besides. Thus the full name of 
the first little Italian Princess is Yolanda Mar- 
gherita Milena Elizabeth Romana Maria! The 
next little Princess, born November 19th, 1902, 
was christened Mafalda Maria Elizabeth Anna 
Romana. On the 15th September, 1904, at the Cha- 
teau of Racconigi the boy was born. This was a 
momentous day for Elena and Victor Emmanuel, 
for the boy, if he lives, will eventually occupy the 
throne of his fathers, and the birth of a Crown 
Prince is a matter of utmost importance in the 
household of a Royal Family, and indeed in the 

Queen Elena of Italy 253 

annals of a nation. Queen Elena had been mar- 
ried eight years, all but one month, when His Royal 
Highness Prince Humbert arrived. There was 
some difficulty in finding suitable names for the 
future King, especially a first name which he 
would carry as King. The Royal Household was 
divided between the name of Victor Emmanuel, 
after his father, and Charles Emmanuel. The 
choice was finally left to the baby Prince's Royal 
father who said, "it was a good custom which was 
followed in some families of naming the first girl 
after the grandmother and the first boy after the 
grandfather." So the name Umberto, or Hum- 
bert as we write it in English, was chosen. 

Since the birth of the Crown Prince, one more 
child has been born to Queen Elena, a Princess, 
who is called Giovanna. She is still a wee child, 
having been born as recently as November 13, 1907. 

Princess Yolanda, the first born, has colouring 
and features very like her mother, while Mafalda 
and Humbert are more like their father. 

Queen Elena herself spends a great share of her 
time with the children, and while they have the 
usual nurses and governesses, the latter of whom 
are already teaching the three older children 
French and English in addition to Italian, Queen 
Elena perhaps does more with her own hands than 
any other Queen mother in Europe. For exam- 
ple, she always bathes them, she is present at their 
supper hour and when they are being made ready 

254 Royal Romances of To-day 

for bed; each afternoon she tries to spend two 
hours with them at their play. Thus their train- 
ing is very largely in her hands. The children 
are all very young still, but the two older girls are 
beginning to appreciate the love and devotion of 
their mother, for little Mafalda recently remarked 
to a gentleman of the court: "Mamma is the com- 
fort of everyone in trouble." 

The Queen's birthday falls on January 8th. The 
year of the terrible earthquake at Messina Her 
Majesty returned to Rome from the devastated re- 
gions on the eve of her birthday. This year, op- 
pressed by the terrible scenes she had witnessed, she 
abolished all of the usual festivities in her honour 
and devoted the forenoon to superintending the 
making of garments for the Messina orphans in 
one of the Quirinal Palace rooms which she had 
made into a temporary workroom. In the after- 
noon she made a round of the Rome hospitals, visit- 
ing all of the "earthquake children," and with her 
own hands distributing sweets and little gifts, thus 
endeavouring to bring a gleam of sunshine into 
their darkened lives, and helping them for the mo- 
ment to forget their sufferings. When someone 
spoke to her afterwards of this beautiful way of 
celebrating her birthday, she replied: "When these 
children grow up they may remember my birth- 
day." Her own children, too, were encouraged 
on this occasion to remember the wounded and or- 
phaned victims. Instead of purchasing presents 
for their mother, according to their usual custom, 

Queen Elena of Italy 255 

they put the money into the Relief Fund, to which 
all the world was contributing. Little Prince 
Humbert brought his favourite plaything, a set of 
toy soldiers, to his mother and said: "Take this 
for the poor children." 



The Italian Prince and Princesses, though they 
live in very beautiful Palaces, are simply brought 
up, and are not encouraged to have extravagant 
toys. Formerly, and even now sometimes, it has 
been the custom of foreign Ambassadors to the 
Italian Court, and even other sovereigns, to send 
gorgeous toys, and magnificent great dolls as big as 
the Princesses themselves, to these children. Queen 
Elena, fearing to have them grow accustomed to 
toys so much richer and better than other children, 
had taught them to surrender these things to poor 
children by sending them to hospital wards. Now 
the playthings of the Royal children are just or- 
dinary toys like those that most children have and 

The Queen endeavours to make her children for- 
get that they are of Royal blood, or in any way 
different from other children. In this particular 
she is very different from the Tsaritsa, who never 
allows her children or her court to forget that her 
son will one day be an Autocrat and Tsar of all the 
Russias, that her daughters are Grand Duchesses, 
and must, therefore, be kowtowed to by every 
Prince and granddame of the court. 


Queen Elena of Italy 257 

While I was in Rome, Queen Elena related the 
following anecdote of her own children, which il- 
lustrates her simplicity of attitude toward the 
Italian Prince and Princesses. 

The young Prince Humbert was recently put 
through an examination by his two older sisters, 
who wished to have an experience of their brother's 
knowledge about colours. 

Yolanda, pointing with her hand to the cloth of 
a piece of the furniture, asked: "What colour is 

"It is red," Humbert readily answered, without 

"And that other piece of furniture, what colour 
is it?" 

For the second time the young Prince gave a 
right answer. 

"It is green," he said. 

But Mafalda wanted to take part, too, in what 
they intended to be the first examination of the 
future King of Italy. 

"What colour are your small shoes?" 

Here the matter became rather complicated. As 
far as it was a question of usual colours, little 
Humbert had found no difficulty in answering, but 
now, looking at his small shoes, he found that they 
had to him an unknown colour. But he was not 
discouraged, especially as he perceived on his sis- 
ter's lips a light smile, which could not be inter- 
preted as of approval. It was clear that his wily 
sisters were teasing him. 

258 Royal Romances of To-day 

"Well, what colour are they?" 

Vanquished? Not he. "My shoes are 'Mar- 
ron glace,' " he replied. 

Yolanda and Mafalda laughed gaily at that an- 
swer, and little Humbert, considering himself 
scorned by them, began to weep, and ran to his 
mother for help. 

Queen Elena endeavoured to explain to the 
little examiners that the Prince's answer was right, 
as the little shoes had really a beautiful chestnut 
colour bright and brilliant. 

Humbert is not fond of being quizzed by his 
sisters, and he is rather inclined to be resentful. 
Indeed, this little Crown Prince is a born soldier of 
a fighting disposition, and many a nursery quarrel 
does the Queen have to settle. He is ever ready 
to defend with great boldness his small soldiers, 
his guns and his swords and other favourite toys, 
which Mafalda and Yolanda attempt sometimes to 
take from him. Humbert has one amusing weak- 
ness. He is fond of the two black eyes and beauti- 
ful little face of one of his sisters' dolls. Some- 
times he wants to take possession of this doll. Un- 
happily, his sisters are not always disposed to let 
him have it. 

Ordinarily Humbert is glad to assume rather a 
martial air, and to dress in military uniforms. But 
the uniform that he likes best is a smart one of a 
Cuirassier regiment with boots, cuirasse and hel- 
met. The little fellow distinctly prefers the com- 
pany of boys of his own age, and he enjoys the little 

Queen Elena of Italy 259 

friends that he is allowed to have, and who are 
the children of the Ladies at Court. 

One of these little friends, a boy of five years 
who showed himself enthusiastic over his Princely 
friend, was asked if he loved him much. 

"Yes, I love him very much, because he never 
complains when they take something belonging to 
him, and he never cheats," he replied. 

"And Yolanda and Mafalda, and the little Gio- 

"Yolanda and Mafalda, I like them also, but 
they always laugh at us men!" 

Yolanda, who is especially beloved by all those 
who live closely to her, has always been a lively 
young girl with a frank and gay smile. Being the 
eldest sister, she endeavours to look in some man- 
ner the wisest and most serious, and she is at the 
same time the most charitable and kindly. In 
fact, it is known to everyone, that many times she 
answers the letters that the little girls of the people 
address to her continually, by sending to them as a 
gift some of her own toys, of which she willingly 
deprives herself. 

There is in her a lovely soul, which appears in 
a thousand ways and especially in the unlimited 
affection to her parents. 

An old friend of the Queen's once asked her to 
show her an ancient photograph very dear to her, 
representing Queen Elena having Yolanda on 
her lap, when she was only two or three months old. 

The Queen afterwards sent for Yolanda, and 

260 Royal Romances of To-day 

showed her the photograph. The little Princess, 
seeing her mother in the portrait, asked with sus- 
picious anxiety who was the child she was keeping 
in her lap. 

"She is a dear baby, of whom I am very fond," 
said the Queen. 

Yolanda's face turned very serious, and after she 
looked again at the photograph, she could not ab- 
stain from showing a certain contempt. 

"Don't you see how ugly she is, Mamma? 
Throw it away." 

"You are wrong," the Queen answered, "you are 
this baby. It is really you when you were very 

Then Yolanda smiled gladly, and changing at 
once her opinion, she said, with plenty of content: 
"Oh, yes, she is very handsome. You may keep 

Yolanda is in fact so affectionate to her mother 
that she hates in her heart all those duties which 
keep the Queen away from her. She, as also Ma- 
falda and Humbert, like much better the beauti- 
ful days spent wholly near their parents, among 
the green hills of Racconigi, Sant' Anna di Val- 
diere, and San Rossore. 

Victor Emmanuel, leaving all cares of state in 
the full liberty of his acts, thinks only to play with 
his children from whom he never is widely sepa- 
rated, and who are really his all-absorbing joy. 
Even in Rome, the King, his duties accomplished, 
spends the rest of each day in the intimacy of his 



Italy's Queen has a wonderful reputation the 
world around for her heroism and daring. More 
than once she has rendered signal and distinguished 
service when great disasters have visited her coun- 
try, so that this reputation is not undeserved. 

I have some personal knowledge of this side of 
her character and it is a privilege to give her full 
credit. There are other sides of her life as a 
Queen, however, in which she falls lamentably 
short of her position. Of these I shall have to 
speak also. 

Queen Elena and the King were in Rome at the 
time of the great earthquake which devastated 
Southern Calabria and the western tip of Sicily. 
No sooner had the first authentic reports reached 
their Majesties than they started for Messina, 
travelling to Naples by special train and then by 
the Italian cruiser Regina Elena. As it happened, 
I arrived at Messina, also by sea, at almost the 
same moment as the Flagship. I was put ashore, 
to visit the wrecked city, in a small boat, and not 
one hundred yards away a little drab launch was 
bouncing over the rude waves toward what was 
left of a slanting stage, bearing King Victor Em- 


262 Royal Romances of To-day 

manuel. On the deck of the Regina Elena, anx- 
iously watching each rise and fall of the little boat, 
stood the Queen. From almost the same angle I 
could watch the progress toward shore, only when 
the King stepped ashore I was much nearer, and 
therefore could see more distinctly the panic- 
stricken survivors hurling themselves madly at the 
feet of their King, and could hear much better the 
wild shouts: "Vive Vitorio Emmanuele!" It was 
a strange, weird hurrah, coming from the lips of 
the bereaved, the sorely stricken, the wounded, the 
dying. Certainly it impressed me deeply. Later, 
from an officer aboard the cruiser, I heard that the 
Queen was moved as never before in her life, and 
well she might be. Before her, in endless pano- 
rama, lay the ruined, smoking city. The King, 
and the crowd he attracted, loomed big on the 
quay, the foreground. Behind, stretching to 
the orange and lemon clad hills which after a mile 
rise abruptly to a great height, lay the biggest pile 
of human suffering, of dead bodies and pinioned, 
starving living that the world has known in many 
centuries. Yet out of this ghastly picture arose the 
cry: "Long live the King!" "Long live Queen 
Elena!" Truly it was overpowering. The Queen 
stood it as long as she could, and then with her 
hands pressed to her face she went sobbing to her 

After an hour the King returned to the ship. 
The Queen met him at the gangway. Now her 
tears were dried. She wore a long nurse's apron, 

Queen Elena of Italy 263 

and from that hour, so long as she remained near 
the scene of disaster, Queen Elena worked as a 
nurse. With her own hands she bandaged the 
bleeding. She assisted at amputations and other 
serious operations and from time to time she visited 
other ships that were caring for the injured and 
spoke the cheering words, which, coming from the 
sovereign, meant so much more than any stimu- 

In connection with this dire catastrophe there 
was at least one incident that was full of humour. 
M. Tardieu, a French journalist, had occasion to 
visit the Minister of Marine who was of the Royal 
party aboard the Flagship. When Tardieu had 
finished his business, the Minister, pointing to a 
parrot which was occupying a prominent place on 
the deck, related this story: 

"A squad of Italian soldiers at work among 
the ruins heard a voice crying 'Maria,' 'Maria.' 
They dug for hours getting nearer, but always the 
voice cried unceasingly 'Maria,' 'Maria.' At last 
when they reached the room from which the 
sounds were coming they found not a human being 
but a parrot. But, in the adjoining room was 
Maria, a young girl, alive and well. When the 
Queen heard of this she sent to have both the parrot 
and its mistress brought aboard the Flagship." As 
the Minister finished relating the story, M. Tar- 
dieu doffed his cap to the bird and began a garru- 
lous speech of congratulations. At that moment 
the King appeared on deck and seeing the French- 

264 Royal Romances of To-day 

man addressing the parrot in all solemnity and dig- 
nity he paused to listen. Tardieu, looking up and 
seeing the King, again removed his hat and 
salaamed low. Whereupon the King advanced 
smiling, with extended hand. He chatted with the 
French journalist for a few moments and sent an 
informal message to the French people. The ac- 
count of the adventure Tardieu published under 
the clever caption : "How a Parrot Introduced Me 
to the King." This girl was only one of many 
whom Queen Elena became interested in in Mes- 
sina, and who have become her special charges now 
in Rome — wards of the Queen. 

The example set by Queen Elena in going to 
Messina was followed by scores of ladies of the 
Italian court, who left their homes, and, boarding 
warships and joining relief expeditions, served as 
volunteer nurses. They established field hospi- 
tals all along the devastated coasts and among the 
hill villages. It was splendid, heroic service and 
must be so recorded. Between the work of the 
ladies of the court and the work of the Queen was 
this difference only. The Queen remained for five 
or six days, while the others remained four or five 
weeks. The Queen was decorated by half the 
monarchs of Europe — not so the others. But be- 
ing the Queen, and having gone there at all, setting 
the example of personal service, her mite (com- 
paratively) counted for more than the actual work 
of all the others combined. 

When Vesuvius vomited forth its torrents of 

Queen Elena of Italy 265 

flaming destruction a few years ago, Queen Elena 
and the King at once set forth in an automobile 
upon the same mission of comfort and mercy. And 
again, when Calabria was visited by a lesser earth- 
quake, in 1905. 

Italy, one is sometimes tempted to believe, was 
the last place God made, and he has never rested 
satisfied with His handiwork. No country that I 
know has a more tragic history. Death in hor- 
rible forms is forever sweeping over some portion 
of the land, while geological changes under the 
earth are shaking, jostling and altering her surface 
contour. Ever since Elena became Queen she has 
worked with zeal during the dark days of these 
numerous calamities. Fate has been strangely, 
rudely kind to her, too, in ordaining that she should 
be near at hand on many occasions when accidents 
have befallen — railroad accidents, fires, as well as 
dire disasters. Always has the Queen hurried to 
the danger point and risen to the crisis. 

When a collision took place between two trains 
one dark night, at "Castel-Giubileo," the Queen, 
immediately informed, was the first ready to 
run to the spot of the catastrophe. The horrible 
scene that appeared, the painful screams of the 
wounded, the great number of victims, brought 
tears to her eyes. But the anxiety which pos- 
sessed her, could not make her forget her 
duty. While the King himself was organising the 
help, she, the young Queen, was stooping over the 
wounded, encouraging and comforting them. A 

266 Royal Romances of To-day 

woman, whose limbs were broken to pieces, was 
lying on the road. The Queen rushed to her, 
kneeled down, kissed her and tried to encourage 
her to fortitude. She pursued all the night her 
consolatory work and left "Castel-Giubileo," only 
after she was satisfied that not a single victim had 
been forgotten under the remains of the ruined 



In view of the long list of dramatic, if terrible, 
events that have from time to time made Queen 
Elena the most striking figure in Italy, it would be 
the simplest matter in the world for her to make 
herself the most popular Queen on any throne in 
Europe. As a matter of fact, in spite of her hero- 
ism and her daring; in spite of her romantic girl- 
hood and idyllic years of early married life — which 
strongly appeal to the naturally sentimental Italian 
people — in spite of her charming home life, there 
is no doubt that she is one of the most unpopular 
Queens in Europe. Her court, which, to meet the 
tastes of her people, should be bright, popular, 
brilliant, is really the dullest, the most stupid in the 
western world. I have lived in many countries, 
and I am more or less familiar with all the coun- 
tries of Europe, but never have I heard a Queen 
so universally spoken of with disrespect and dis- 
approval by her own court. Of course, Queen 
Elena cannot be charged with the sole responsi- 
bility, for the King shares the opprobrium and 
may, after all, be the one to blame. It is, never- 
theless, a disappointing task that is set the chroni- 
cler of Italian court life of to-day. Elena, as we 


268 Royal Romances of To-day 

have seen, was born fairly in the lap of romance. 
Her life should have worked out to an ideal fulfil- 
ment. Extraordinary opportunities have been 
hers, but she has never taken advantage of the great 
popularity they have given her. A Queen's life 
is one of stern duty, intensely hard, and excessively 
demanding from many quarters. Queen Elena, in 
an American phrase, "plays to the gallery/' then 
retires. She garners the wheat and ignores the 
chaff. She is quick to follow dramatic exploits, 
but reluctant to submit to the daily grind. 

The Duke of Ascoli, personal friend and ad- 
jutant to the Queen, was much embarrassed when 
I asked him to tell me about the charities of Queen 
Elena. He mentioned Calabria, Vesuvius, certain 
children's hospitals and orphanages, and there he 
paused. It is, to me, inexplicable that a Queen 
who as the Princess of a little State like Monte- 
negro should have done so much for the people of 
the country, been a patroness of the arts and done 
all the things that Elena did, and then, as Queen of 
a great nation do so little. Rightly or wrongly, 
Queen Elena has the reputation among her own 
people for being the stingiest Queen in Europe. 
Apparently this is true. She patronises almost 
nothing at all, regularly, and if once in a while 
she lends her name to appear on a public bill, it 
usually means this and nothing more. So far as 
is known, she gives less to charity, in proportion 
to her means, than any Queen. In this she is in 
unhappy contrast to the Queen-Mother who, when 

Queen Elena of Italy 269 

she was on the Throne, did very much to encourage 
painting, music and sculpture throughout Italy. 
This fact rather discredits the only excuse I have 
ever heard offered for Queen Elena, namely, that 
she and the King have many Palaces to maintain, 
inheritances which have come to them from the 
many dukedoms and little states which were 
brought together to make up "United Italy." 
Queen Margherita and King Humbert had the 
same number of estates, but their charity and phil- 
anthropic list was long and striking. 

Queen Elena has one boast. She says that less 
has been written of her than of any Queen in the 
world, and she is very proud of it. My own im- 
pression is that Queen Elena realises that if more 
of the facts of her selfish nature were made world- 
wide that she would cease to be the object of vener- 
ation that she is to-day. If the world at large ap- 
preciated to what extent she has carried her ideas 
of simplicity in dress, the glamour that surrounds 
her would fade. It is impossible to worship a 
dowd — especially if the lady be a Queen with 
all the splendour and taste of the world at her 

I have seen her driving in the Campagna, or 
even through the streets of Rome, when I would 
never have believed her the occupant of her exalted 
position, had I not known her. It is somewhat 
ungallant to dwell upon these things, but Queen 
Elena can wear good clothes, as her court costumes 
testify. It is because she simply doesn't, that 

270 Royal Romances of To-day 

makes her a slouch in dress. One need not be ex- 
travagant in clothes to be tasteful, but Queen Elena 
is not even tasteful. Here again, she is in unfor- 
tunate contrast to the Queen-Mother who, still 
living in Rome, is always exquisitely gowned, and 
no matter how simply, always with unerring taste. 
Queen Elena is, indeed, sorely handicapped by the 
presence of Queen Margherita in the capital, for 
her popular affection will last as long as she lives, 
and a woman of Elena's calibre can never, even at 
best, supplant her. 

The most ungracious task in the world is some- 
times to tell the truth. When writing of Kings 
and Queens, one is expected to write in adulation. 
I have done my best for Queen Elena, in telling 
the story of her younger life in all its vivid and 
alluring colouring; and I have paid full tribute to 
Elena, the Mother. But the picture is not yet com- 
plete. Elena the Queen is, after all, of first im- 
portance to the nation. We, in America, believe 
that the institution of kingship — "divine right of 
Kings" and all the rest — is largely archaic twaddle. 
Queen Elena, of all living Queens, illustrates the 
emptiness of Queenship as it exists to-day. I would 
not give the impression that the Queen and King 
of Italy are cruel tyrants like the lately deposed 
Sultan of Turkey, or autocrats like the Tsar and 
Tsaritsa of Russia; nor are they active elements in 
the social life of the nation like the Kings and 
Queens of England and Spain, or the Emperor 
and Empress of Germany. What Queen Elena 

Queen Elena of Italy 271 

and King Victor Emmanuel represent, however, 
are, the biggest of social parasites. They draw an 
enormous revenue of many millions annually from 
a heartbreakingly poor population, and give the 
minimum in return. 

I am quite aware that I speak in no measured 
terms, but a surprising number of people in Italy 
— men and women of the Court — have begged me 
to state the truth concerning their sovereigns to 
the world. Perchance they themselves may take 
from the lips of an unbiassed observer from over- 
seas what no one of their subjects dare to say. 
While not an apostle of social revolution in Italy, 
I may perhaps be so suspected, unless I state that 
it is the full indifference to everyday affairs of the 
Italian sovereigns, especially the Queen, that 
breeds the widest discontent. The Italian court, as 
a whole, is not politically restless so much as dis- 
couraged and disgusted with their apathetic mon- 

The four years of blissful honeymooning en- 
joyed by Victor Emmanuel and Elena seems to 
have spoiled them for taking up the tasks of sov- 
ereigns. They seem to have lived too much unto 
and for themselves. One indication of this is the 
almost ludicrous jealousy of the King. He guards 
Elena with the greatest care, and few indeed are 
the male members of the Court who ever approach 
her save on formal occasions. The sovereigns al- 
ways have their meals alone together. It was the 
custom of the former monarchs to have the King's 

272 Royal Romances of To-day 

adjutant and the Queen's lady-in-waiting at the 
table; at dinner there were nearly always guests. 
Not so Victor Emmanuel. He prefers to be as 
much as possible alone with his spouse, and never 
entertains at dinner save when duty demands it. 
It must be said that he gives Elena a true and 
loyal devotion and he is one of the very few, if 
not the only monarch in Europe, against whom no 
word of unkind gossip has ever been spoken. 

The closely watchful attitude of the King may 
be in some measure responsible for the impression 
which is pretty general that Elena is a timid, shy 
woman. There are several anecdotes recalled to 
illustrate this trait, each of them, to me, interesting. 

One afternoon, near the beginning of her reign, 
Elena had attended a function given by the Dow- 
ager-Queen. Queen Elena arrived somewhat late 
and reached the door of the Salon unattended. 
There was a large company present and Queen 
Elena paused, as if in embarrassment, until Queen 
Margherita, seeing her, came forward and taking 
her by the hand led her into the room. 

On the rare occasions when Italian Royalty pat- 
ronise the theatre or opera, Elena, if she knows the 
Queen-Mother is to be present, arrives a little late, 
and leaves a little early, so that the homage Queen 
Margherita had been accustomed to during so 
many years may still be hers. 

Social shyness is a thing- apart from physical 
courage, of which, we all know Queen Elena has 

Queen Elena of Italy 273 

an abundance. The formalities of ceremonial 
court life are irksome to Queen Elena, and the aft- 
ernoon "teas" that she holds for the court are 
stripped of all their formidableness by the present 
mistress of the Quirinal. 

Among the English colony in Rome is an aged 
lady whom Queen Elena calls to court once every 
year for a tete-a-tete. During the past year she 
has grown very deaf. Queen Elena had obvious 
difficulty in making herself understood, and to her 
very evident embarrassment the old lady noticed 
this and said, apologetically: "I am so sorry, your 
Majesty, that my hearing inconveniences you." 
"Oh," said the Queen, "I did not know that you 
were deaf. Come, sit here on the sofa by me." 
This, surely, was worthy of a Queen. 

That Queen Elena positively dislikes social func- 
tions there can be no question. For three succes- 
sive winters there was practically nothing what- 
ever done to stimulate the social life of the capital 
on the part of the sovereigns. One year the rea- 
son given for the postponing of the court balls and 
receptions was the Sicilian disaster. Another year 
it was the death of the King of Portugal. Other 
courts went into mourning for thirty days. The 
Italian court cancelled everything in the nature of 
festivities for the year. This has a very serious 
economic result. Rome is one of the least com- 
mercial capitals of Europe. The social season at 
best is brief — three to four months — and upon this 

274 Royal Romances of To-day 

little season many of the shopkeepers have to rely 
for the bulk of their trade. The tourist trade does 
not begin to compensate for the loss of the social 
season. In every other capital in Europe the pres- 
ence of Royalty at all star occasions throughout the 
season lends a brilliancy that seems to be lost to 
Rome for ever — at least during the lives of the 
present monarchs. The old Roman families do the 
best they can to bolster up Rome's fast fleeting 
prestige, but the Royal Box is nearly always empty. 
More often than not it looms up in the centre of 
things like a ghost at the feast. Each year, fewer 
and fewer foreigners go to Rome for the season, 
and this is laid directly to the door of the sover- 
eigns. It must be borne in mind that this sort of 
thing means very much more in Europe than it 
does in America. There is no city in the United 
States that could possibly be affected in this way, 
but since it is of so much importance in Italy it 
must be mentioned here. This is one of the prime 
grievances of the people of Rome against the King 
and Queen. If Queen Elena were the wife of a 
country minister in our country, she would be be- 
loved by all who knew her. Her domestic virtues, 
her simplicity of taste and manners, her fondness 
for children would all be extolled. It would then 
be no drawback that her vision was not extended, 
her horizon so narrow. She would be a splen- 
did woman to organise Dorcas societies, to teach 
the Infant class in the Sunday School, and even to 
get up Thursday night socials. Alas! however, 

Queen Elena of Italy 275 

she is a sovereign, and of a sovereign so much more 
is not merely expected but demanded. The way 
Queen Elena has shirked her daily chores — court 
functions, audiences and interest in national activi- 
ties — during the last few years is a matter of na- 
tional comment. "She promised so much, she has 
achieved so little!" one hears on every hand. 

The Elena of to-day does not seem the same 
Elena who came from Montenegro. The reason 
for her change of character is beyond my ken. 
But these are facts. As a Queen, Elena comes 
close to the line of failure. Each time she steps 
into the blaze of popular admiration the sentiment 
toward her seems to change, but I notice that like 
the fickle waves of the sea, this quickly recedes. 

Queen Elena has always been given to hobbies, 
and as her children take to one hobby or another 
their regal mother shares their enthusiasm and in- 
terest. The King, too, has one hobby that he has 
indulged in since boyhood and that is the collect- 
ing of coins. This fad he took up when he was a 
very small boy. According to his own statement 
it was in the year 1879 that one rare coin fell into 
his hands and he determined to make a "collec- 
tion." To-day his collection is reputed the larg- 
est and finest in Italy. With him, the collecting 
of the coins is but part of the hobby. Around 
each set of ancient and obsolete coins he has 
grouped a summary of historical facts so that 
his collection, if studied carefully would constitute 
an education in itself. I have been told that the 

276 Royal Romances of To-day 

King has nearly sixty thousand different coins! 
A friend writing to Senator Morandi who is 
intimately familiar with the life of the King, 
asked how Victor Emmanuel had time to make 
collections of this sort. To which the Senator 
replied: "In the midst of all the cares of 
State, by his indefatigable capacity for work, 
aided by a rare promptitude of perception and by 
a prodigious memory, he finds time to follow every 
scientific and literary movement, and to attend to 
this collection." As a matter of fact, this is the 
King's one hobby. The Queen, on the other hand, 
still indulges several. In the Quirinal Palace in 
Rome she maintains a studio where she spends 
many an afternoon working over her sketches and 
water colours. Her interest in the coin collection 
is rather recent, and at bottom only nominal. It is 
my impression that this interest on her part is 
primarily for the sake of her children who will 
one day own this interesting and valuable collec- 
tion. The King once related to Senator Morandi, 
in a personal letter, the origin of this collection. 
"I got my chance," he said, "a soldo (one cent) of 
Pius IX and I kept it. Afterwards I got another 
which I put with the first. Presently I secured fif- 
teen different coins of different kinds. Then my 
father gave me about seventy different copper coins. 
These formed the nucleus of my collection." For 
several years Prince Victor Emmanuel pestered 
every one he knew to give him old coins, especially 
at Christmas and on other gift days. Before long 

Queen Elena of Italy 277 

he had a collection of three thousand pieces. And 
now it has attained the proportions of twenty times 
that number. Recently the King testified that this 
collection has been "an efficacious aid to him in his 
study of history and geography. Besides which, 
when I have time I always find something useful 
and pleasing to do, either arranging my coins or 
searching in books for dates for this purpose!" 
Many an American and English boy and girl has 
a collection of coins and this testimony of King 
Victor Emmanuel may be an incentive to them to 
continue this hobby, and to make the most of it by 
following the scientific example of the King in 
carefully and accurately preserving the full data 
concerning each coin. 

Queen Elena is still a young woman. If the 
time ever comes when she determines to throw as 
much energy and enthusiasm into the everyday 
work of Queenship as she does on the special oc- 
casions of crisis she may yet make her mark upon 
Italy. So far she has not done this. In these chap- 
ters I have tried to portray Queen Elena as she is 
— a real live woman who enjoyed a romantic youth ; 
who made a brilliant marriage; who is a devoted 
wife and mother; a mediocre Queen. I have 
written without malice and without prejudice. 
My task is done if my readers can now visualise 
Queen Elena — can picture her in her mountain 
home, a daring, untrammeled girl; can see her as 
she is to-day, active in her domestic tasks, lunching 
and dining and driving with the King, bathing 

278 Royal Romances of To-day 

the babies and watching over their early slumbers. 
For to-day Elena is wife and mother above all else 
—and Queen incidentally as well as accidentally. 
It is my impression that the Queen business bores 
her utterly; else she would not do it so badly. 



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